Mitsubishi Heavy ordered to pay GE $169 mln in patent case

March 8 Thu Mar 8, 2012 8:33pm EST

March 8 (Reuters) - Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. was ordered on Thursday to pay General Electric Co. $169 million after a Dallas jury found that the company had infringed GE's wind-turbine patent.

GE, the largest U.S. maker of wind turbines, sued Japanese manufacturer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and two U.S. units in federal court in Texas in 2010, accusing them of infringing two patents used in variable-speed wind turbines.

The jury's finding on Thursday relates to a GE patent that helps wind turbines remain connected to the electricity grid, even when the grid's voltage drops to zero.

The other patent was ruled invalid by U.S. District Judge Royal Ferguson on Feb. 10.

Sonia Williams, a spokeswoman for Mitsubishi Heavy, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Chet Lasell, a spokesman for GE, said: "GE firmly believes that protecting our intellectual property rights is the foundation for innovation, investing in high technology industries and creating high-value jobs."

GE filed the Dallas lawsuit after it lost a case in January, 2010, at the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), which found that Mitsubishi Heavy did not infringe on three GE wind-turbine patents.

After GE appealed the decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on Feb. 29 ordered the ITC to reconsider infringement claims on one of the patents.

The lawsuit is General Electric v. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America and Mitsubishi Power Systems Americas, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, No. 10-00276.

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