The General Electric Co. and Vestas Wind Systems from Denmark are currently the leaders in wind turbines in the United States. General Electric is currently the top supplier, having installed 2,633 wind turbines in 2009 and 3,323 in 2008.
Mitsubishi is attempting to make a greater impact in the United States’ market, much to the concern of GE. In January, a ruling by the U.S. International Trade Commission indicated that a lawsuit by General Electric was incorrect in believing that Mitsubishi was violating patents. However, General Electric will be appealing this decision and filing a new lawsuit.
Currently General Electric holds 148 patents for wind turbines, at least seven of which GE believes Mitsubishi is violating. The January ruling by the trade commission found that Mitsubishi was not violating five of these patents, however, as stated GE will be appealing this case. In addition, GE believes Mitsubishi is violating another two patents, which they are suing regarding separately from the previous.
GE is attempting to have Mitsubishi banned from using their patents and is also looking for compensation in the form of an unknown amount of money. In the previous lawsuit GE wanted to have Mitsubishi-made wind turbines unable to be imported. The two patents currently being violated according to GE involve the base frame of their wind turbines and the other involves connection to the electricity grid.
It is unknown when or if the new lawsuit and appeal will be going to court. Many believe the lawsuits are part of an attempt for GE to maintain their status as top wind turbine provider in the United States. Others, however, do believe that Mitsubishi is using GE systems in their turbines.