Siemens Gamesa wins U.S. ban on GE wind turbines in patent dispute

A GE 1.6-100 wind turbine (front R) is pictured at a wind farm in Tehachapi, California June 19, 2013. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

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  • Judge blocks sales of GE turbines, allows use in existing projects
  • Jury found in June that GE Haliade-X turbines infringed

(Reuters) – A Boston federal judge barred General Electric Co on Wednesday from making and selling its Haliade-X wind turbines in the United States, after a jury found in June that the turbines infringed a patent owned by rival Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy A/S.

U.S. District Judge William Young said Siemens Gamesa was entitled to the ban because it suffered irreparable harm, including a significant loss of market share to GE, based on the infringement.

Young also allowed GE to continue making and operating the turbines for existing projects off the coasts of Massachusetts and New Jersey with royalty payments to Siemens Gamesa, and said GE could “design around” the patent in the future.

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A jury previously said that Siemens Gamesa was entitled to royalties of $30,000 per megawatt from GE’s infringing turbines.

GE Renewable Energy said in a statement that it is “exploring all legal options to ensure that we can continue to support the growth of offshore wind in the U.S., including an appeal of today’s ruling.”

Siemens Gamesa and its attorneys did not immediately respond to a request for comment. GE accused Siemens Gamesa’s majority owner Siemens Energy AG of stealing gas turbine trade secrets in a lawsuit in Virginia last year, which was later settled.

Siemens Gamesa sued GE in Massachusetts in 2020, claiming the GE’s Haliade-X turbines infringed its patents covering wind-turbine technology. Young said Wednesday that Siemens Gamesa had shown the patent GE infringed “provides a key element for the functionality of wind turbines,” allowing for larger motors and lowering the chances that the turbines fail.

GE’s unsuccessful arguments against the injunction included that Siemens Gamesa should not obtain the ban because it had already been awarded royalties.

Young said that the ongoing projects in Massachusetts and New Jersey should be exempt from the injunction, citing the “rapidly developing climate crisis” and the “thousands of jobs” the projects have created.

The State of New Jersey said in a court brief last month that applying the injunction to the project there would have “detrimental economic effects to New Jersey’s nascent offshore wind construction and service industry” and “imperil its greenhouse gas policy objectives.”

The case is Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy A/S v. General Electric Co, U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, No. 1:21-cv-10216.

For Siemens Gamesa: Robert Thielhelm, Leif Sigmond, Daniel Goettle and Cy Walker of Baker & Hostetler; Cory Bell of Finnegan Henderson Farabow Garrett & Dunner

For GE: Louis Tompros, Monica Grewal and Jason Liss of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr

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GE, Siemens Energy settle lawsuit over gas turbines

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Blake Brittain

Thomson Reuters

Blake Brittain reports on intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. Reach him at blake.brittain@thomsonreuters.com

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