Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (7011.T) and Mitsubishi Power Systems Americas, Inc. filed an antitrust lawsuit in United States District Court against
General Electric Company (NYSE: GE). The complaint charges GE with a scheme to monopolize the
market for variable speed wind turbines in the United States.
Mitsubishi seeks damages that will be
calculated during litigation.
In the complaint filed in the US District Court’s Western District of Arkansas, Mitsubishi
alleges that after Mitsubishi gained a foothold in the United States market in 2006, GE embarked on
an unlawful anticompetitive scheme to drive Mitsubishi suppliers out of the U.S. market.
In addition, attorneys for Mitsubishi Heavy Industry, Ltd. (MHI) today filed suit in United
States District Court’s Middle District of Florida against GE charging them
with infringing a key Mitsubishi patent for variable speed wind turbines, alleging that GE has been
making, using, selling and offering to sell infringing turbines without any authorization or license to
Mitsubishi Heavy spokeswoman Sonia Williams said, “GE’s patent infringement lawsuit deterred customers from
purchasing variable speed wind turbines from Mitsubishi. Our lawsuit documents how GE
representatives intimidated Mitsubishi customers by advising them to either purchase license
agreements from GE or face infringement risk.”
Ms. Williams noted that Mitsubishi has signed a development agreement with the State of
Arkansas to construct and operate a wind turbine manufacturing plant in Fort Smith, Arkansas, on
100 acres of land formerly part of Fort Chaffee. Mitsubishi is expected to invest well over $100
million dollars in this project. The plant, once built, will employ over three hundred people to build
the very variable speed wind turbine technology that is at the center of GE’s attacks.
unlawful conduct continues, the plant will have to sit idle, as there may be no U.S. demand for
Mitsubishi turbines at a time when America is moving forward with an energy strategy that seeks to
harness the power of the wind.”
The complaint further alleges that, as part of its unlawful scheme, GE made baseless claims of
patent infringement against Mitsubishi.
“GE brought these meritless claims
against Mitsubishi and frightened potential wind turbine purchasers from purchasing Mitsubishi’s
turbines, preventing Mitsubishi’s entry into the US market," Williams said. GE’s scheme has worked, to the
disadvantage of competition and Mitsubishi’s innovative variable speed turbines.”
GE launched its
first lawsuit for patent infringement against Mitsubishi in February 2008, claiming Mitsubishi’s 2.4
MW wind turbine infringed three of GE’s patents.
“Since GE’s litigation campaign began over two years ago, MPSA has
not sold a single variable speed turbine in the United States,” Williams said.
GE issued the following statement in response:
"The claims in MHI’s antitrust complaint alleging improper conduct by GE in obtaining and enforcing our patents are meritless and outrageous," GE’s Dan Nelson said. "The validity of the patents at issue has been examined and upheld in both the US Patent Office and the International Trade Commission. GE’s conduct has been appropriate in all circumstances."
Nelson adds that GE stands behind the merits of its patent infringement lawsuits against MHI and will fight to protect its intellectual property.