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    US bans Gamesa from importing several wind turbines for infringing a GE patent


    January 19, 2022 - CE Noticias Financieras

     

      The U.S. International Trade Commission has partially accepted a complaint filed by General Electric against Siemens Gamesa that will result in the prohibition of the importation into the country of certain wind turbines that would be using U.S. technology.

      According to the resolution, to which elEconomista has had access, the Commission has determined that the appropriate form of relief in this investigation is a limited exclusion order with respect to Siemens Gamesa that prohibits the importation of certain variable speed wind turbine generators and their components that are covered by General Electric's patent.

      The Commission has further determined that public interest factors justify an exemption in both orders for the service and items at issue that were sold to U.S. consumers, but do not preclude the issuance of the limited exclusion order or the cease and desist orders.

      Finally, the Commission has determined that the bond for importation during the presidential review period will be zero percent (0%) (i.e., no bond) of the entered value of such items.

      The Commission's notice, order and opinion were delivered yesterday to the President and the United States Trade Representative. The Commission has also served the order on the Secretary of the Treasury and Customs and Border Protection.

      General Electric in August 2020 asked the agency to analyze certain variable-speed wind turbine generators and components offered by Siemens Gamesa in the US.

      The company said at the time that "the protection of intellectual property rights are the foundation for driving both innovation and investment in high-tech industries in general and the associated creation of high-value jobs. GE strongly believes in the merits of its case against SGRE and will continue to protect its technology in the United States," the company explained in a statement.

      GE acquired the patent related to variable speed technology from Enron Wind, which in turn obtained it through Zond during the consolidation of the U.S. wind turbine market in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Since then, all of GE's competitors have faced some form of licensing fee for each turbine sale, allowing the US giant to extend its domestic market leadership.

      Consultancy IntelSor indicated at the time that the litigation could result in damages of up to $2.4 billion for Siemens Gamesa taking into account its base of turbines already installed in the US. The risk for future installations, based on firm orders already placed, would reach $312.6 million. However, the responsibility could be shared by the Spanish company's customers if their equipment supply contracts do not contemplate this type of scenario.

      The decision coincides with the trip of the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albares, to the country to analyze the relationship between the two and to prepare the next NATO Summit in Madrid, where the main topic will be Russia's pressure on Ukraine and European dependence on gas.

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