GE, Mitsubishi End Wind Turbine Battle
Mitsubishi Industries Ltd. and General Electric Co. announced on Monday that they've reached an "amicable settlement" to resolve five long-running patent and antitrust cases relating to wind turbine technology. The terms of the deal are mostly confidential, but the companies said it includes a cross-licensing agreement. The settlement follows several high-profile victories for GE's lawyers at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr; Weil, Gotshal & Manges; and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.
GE kicked off the battle in February 2008 by suing Mitsubishi at the U.S. International Trade Commission. In late 2009 and early 2010, GE upped the ante with two additional patent infringement cases against Mitsubishi—one in U.S. district court in Dallas and one in U.S. district court in Corpus Christi, Texas.
The Japanese conglomerate responded with gusto in 2010, bringing a patent infringement case against GE in Florida, as well as an antitrust case against GE in Fayetteville, Ark. In its antitrust complaint, Mitsubishi accused GE of trying stifle competition by bringing "baseless" patent infringement suits. Mitsubishi said at the time that damages in the antitrust case could reach "hundreds of millions of dollars, and may be over $1 billion."
Mitsubishi initially secured dismissal of the ITC case in January 2010, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit partially revived GE's claims in February 2012, siding with Wilmer's William Lee. In March 2012 a trial team helmed by Weil's David Lender and Nicholas Groombridge of Paul Weiss helped GE win $170 million in damages in its infringement case against Mitsubishi in Dallas (Mitsubishi appealed). In July 2012, a federal judge in Florida dismissed Mitsubishi's offensive patent case against GE. Mitsubishi's antitrust case against GE was still pending when the settlement was reached this week.
Mitsubishi's counsel in the litigation included Gerald Ivey of Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner; Filiberto Agusti of Steptoe & Johnson; and Gary Frischling and Morgan Chu of Irell & Manella.
Wilmer's Lee declined to comment. Agusti at Steptoe & Johnson didn't immediately return a request for comment. We also didn't hear back from Finnegan's Ivey.