Publications & News

General Electric Wins Ruling in Critical Patent Dispute

January 8, 2013

On November 30, US District Judge Lawrence J. O'Neill ruled that General Electric Corp. (GE) has full ownership of a wind turbine patent at issue in its ongoing patent dispute with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

The suit was filed as a declaratory judgment action in April 2010 and is rooted in GE’s patent infringement cases against Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in federal court and before the US International Trade Commission. The decision came down against electrical engineer Thomas Wilkins', who claimed that he was an unnamed inventor of the GE patent in dispute, which covers technology used in wind turbine generators. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries had hired Wilkins—a former GE employee—during these infringement proceedings, and later intervened as a defendant in the original action taken against Wilkins.

After a six-day bench trial, during which Wilkins testified at trial that he had contributed to the technology covered in the patent, Judge O'Neill found that there was not "clear and convincing" evidence to support his claims.

The WilmerHale team representing GE included Bill Lee, Jim Quarles, Chip O’Neill, Andrea Jeffries, Monica Grewal, Beth Reilly, Louis Tompros, Sandy Alexander, Adam Gershenson, Carrie Seares, Nimit Patel, Alex Boudreau, Mike Gustavsen, Mike LaBrie, Patty Slentz-Howard, Laura Shine and Rose Coviello.