Prosecuting a patent is the most effective way for a business to protect the investment it has made in research or product development. A company’s patents will help ensure that it maintains a competitive edge either by producing something that no one else can or by reducing what it costs to produce the same items.
Recently, a federal judge ruled on a major patent case involving two of the biggest wind turbine companies in the United States. This massively expensive patent case is a powerful reminder of the value of securing a patent and respecting existing ones.
What led to this wind turbine patent litigation case?
Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy A/S has patented technology for efficient energy production in large-scale wind turbines. This has been the most recent in multiple lawsuits between Siemens Gamesa and General Electric Company (GE). In the most recent ruling, a judge determined that GE violated the patents of Siemens Gamesa.
The judge specifically ruled on a pending project, allowing GE to move forward with the delivery and installation of wind turbines already in progress. However, the judge imposed a massive $30,000 per megawatt hour fine for every turbine that infringes on the patent. The judge also ordered GE to review its designs and avoid infringement in future projects.
Similar technology can lead to contentious claims
This is not the first time that GE and Siemens Gamesa have gone to court with one another over turbine patents. GE has previously accused a different branch of Siemens Gamesa of inappropriately obtaining trade secrets related to gas turbines.
Siemens Gamesa then sued GE in 2020 alleging that the turbines the company produces infringe on its existing patents. Although GE attempted to defend against the claim, a judge ruled against the corporation, binding them from future infringement and awarding the damages based on the energy produced by the infringing turbines.
Patent cases can have major business implications
Understanding what patents may apply to a project in the works for your company or protecting your company’s advances with a new patent can be crucial to the future financial success of your business. The bigger the concept and the more lucrative the patent could be, the more important it is to very carefully manage the prosecution process and to monitor competitors for warning signs of infringement.
Only by asserting your patents can you hold another company responsible for misusing your patented technology. Tracking major patent cases and projects in your industry can help you protect your intellectual property and enforce your existing patents.