Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Devil in the Details - Wind Edition

Our quest to find the patent numbers associated with the GE v. Mitsubishi wind turbine investigation at the International Trade Commission continues.

In our earlier post we noted that the 337 investigation covered three patents. One issued in 1992, one issued in 2005, and one in 2008. After trolling the internet and making a few calls, we learned that the 2005 patent is likely 6,924,565 - Continuous Reactive Power Suport for Wind Turbine Generators. The patent issued on August 2, 2005 was cited in older procedural ITC documents about the investigation.

There are two curious items about this patent.

The first is that it appears that GE never got the first named inventor, Thomas A. Wilkins to assign his rights to the invention to GE. The USPTO assignment database page for this patent shows all the other inventors but doesn't show assignment by Mr. Wilkins. This is now in the squabble between GE and Mitsubishi in what appears to be a clean up your paperwork action. The devil is in the detail and in the paperwork.

The second is one of the non-patent prior art citations. The patent cites the following:

Tom Wind, "Wind Turbines Offer New Voltage Control Feature," Power Engineering, September 1999, pp 1-2. Enron Wind Webpage, pp 1-2,

The Enron link is no more and the link Power Engineering didn't yield the article but we learned that Mr. Wind has a wide range of information on the wind industry on the internet.

Mr. Wind is with Wind Utility Consulting in Jefferson, Iowa. A company name that reflects both the principal and the expertise.

Prior art takes many interesting turns.

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