- Vestas has added its own claims of patent infringement against GE in ongoing litigation between the wind turbine manufacturers, accusing GE of infringing a pair of Vestas patents directed to technology for connecting and controlling wind turbines on a power grid.
In a court filing on December 15, 2017, Danish-based Vestas Wind Systems A/S raised the stakes in its ongoing patent litigation with General Electric by asserting its own claims of patent infringement.
The lawsuit began in July, with GE asserting that Vestas infringes a pair of GE patents directed to technology for connecting wind turbines to power grids (see our original post on this lawsuit here). Vestas answered GE’s allegations in November by denying that it infringed GE’s patents and further arguing that GE committed inequitable conduct when obtaining one of those patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. (See our post on Vestas’ answer here). If substantiated, inequitable conduct would render the relevant GE patent unenforceable against Vestas.
Vestas has now counterclaimed in the lawsuit, asserting that GE infringes a pair of Vestas patents. Specifically, Vestas alleges that GE infringes U.S. Patent Nos. 7,102,247 and 7,859,125; both of these patents are directed to technology for connecting and controlling wind turbines on a power grid.
The ‘247 Patent describes “a circuit arrangement for use in wind power installations” with features that protect a wind turbine from short circuits on the power grid. Similarly, the ‘125 Patent describes a method of controlling a wind turbine during a malfunction (i.e. short circuit) on the power grid. The features and methods of the ‘247 and ‘125 Patents allow wind turbines to remain connected to the power grid during short circuits, whereas prior technology required temporarily disconnecting the turbine.
Vestas has accused 10 different models of GE wind turbines of infringing the Vestas patents. Those models are installed in at least seven wind turbine sites across the United States, including: Alta Wind (California); Wind Colebrook South (Connecticut); Saddleback Ridge and Canton Mountain (Maine); Jericho Mountain (New Hampshire); Ringer Hill (Pennsylvania); and Goldthwaite (Texas).
It is worth noting that by filing counterclaims Vestas has expanded the lawsuit by accusing GE of infringing Vestas’ patents. However, the technology at issue is focused on a single aspect of wind turbine technology. All four of the patents now asserted in this case (two from GE, two from Vestas) involve technology for connecting wind turbines to power grids and maintaining that connection despite power grid malfunctions.