U.S. Court of Appeals Issues Ruling
On Importation of MHI’s 2.4 MW Wind Turbines

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.
As previously reported, in February 2008 General Electric Company (GE) filed a complaint with the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) alleging that the importation of 2.4 MW (megawatt) variable-speed wind turbines manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) violated Section 337 of the U.S. Tariff Act of 1930. In January 2010 the USITC issued a Final Determination ruling that the importation of said wind turbines did not constitute a violation of the cited Act. In March 2010, however, GE appealed that ruling to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC). On February 29, 2012 (EST) the CAFC partially supported the findings of the USITC’s Final Determination but also ruled that further examination is needed concerning portions of that Determination, and the CAFC thereby remanded the case back to the USITC for further investigation.

    1. Background to the CAFC's ruling
    • January 8, 2010   The USITC announces its Final Determination.
    • March 2, 2010   GE appeals the USITC's Final Determination to the CAFC.
    • March 31, 2010   MHI and MPSA*1 file a request for judicial intervention.
    • February 29, 2012   The CAFC hands down its ruling in the matter.
    2. Purport of the CAFC's ruling

    In judgment of the Final Determination made by the USITC, i.e. the ruling that importation of MHI's 2.4 MW variable-speed wind turbines did not violate Section 337 of the U.S. Tariff of 1930, the CAFC affirmed the Final Determination pertaining to one of the three GE U.S. patents in question, and it certified that MHI's wind turbines did not infringe that patent. With reference to one other GE patent, however, the CAFC ruled that further investigation is needed by the USITC, and it remanded this matter back to that body. (The third patent in question was dismissed from the case as related rights expired in February 2011.) The CFAC's ruling means that no injunction will be imposed immediately on the importation of MHI's 2.4 MW variable-speed wind turbines into the United States.

    3. MHI's view

    MHI respects the intellectual properties of all other companies, and it believes it has infringed neither the patent involved in the case remanded for further examination, nor Section 337 of the U.S. Tariff Act of 1930. As such, the company will take the necessary measures to enable its claims to be recognized in the investigation of the remanded matter by the USITC. It may be added that the GE patent in question is currently undergoing reexamination by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and that body has issued a rejection notice to the effect that the patent is not valid.

    4. Outlook

    Following investigation of the remanded patent case, the USITC will again issue a Final Determination in the matter. At the present juncture there are numerous uncertain procedural factors, and depending on how the matter unfolds, it is conceivable that disclosure of some points may be called for. In that event, we will issue notifications swiftly.

    *1.Mitsubishi Power Systems Americas, Inc. (MPSA) is a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America, Inc. (MHIA) that serves as MHI's power systems operation base in the U.S.