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Mitsubishi Heavy, GE Settle Wind Patent Infringement Cases

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and General Electric Co. agreed to settle their U.S. patent infringement dispute over wind-turbine technology by allowing each other to cross-license their products, according to a statement from Tokyo-based Mitsubishi Heavy today.

GE, the largest U.S. producer of wind turbines, and Mitsubishi Heavy agreed not to disclose details, the statement said. The settlement couldn’t be confirmed in court filings.

In 2008, Fairfield, Connecticut-based GE filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission alleging that Mitsubishi’s 2.4-megawatt turbines infringe its patents.

GE filed a suit with a district court in Texas in 2009, and another in 2010, according to the Mitsubishi statement. Mitsubishi Heavy countersued the same year in Florida and Arkansas courts.

The GE lawsuits may have brought “enough uncertainty over MHI products to discourage developers from using them,” Justin Wu, Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s head of wind analysis, said by e-mail today.

Mitsubishi Heavy said the settlement has a minor impact on earnings and it won’t revise its earnings forecast.

Officials at General Electric’s Tokyo office weren’t immediately available for comment.

The Texas case is General Electric Co. v. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. 2:09-cv-00229. U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas (Corpus Christie). The Florida case is Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. v. General Electric Co. 6:10-cv-00812. U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida (Orlando.)

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