A legal case between two of the biggest wind turbine manufacturers in the world will come before the High Court in Dublin this week.
German firm Enercon is suing Vestas, a Danish rival, following a dispute over patent rights. The outcome of the Irish case is expected to set a precedent for other European countries.
Enercon is claiming that all Vestas-designed wind turbines across Ireland infringe its German registered patent rights.
Vestas has built more than half of the 650 wind turbines in operation in Ireland. Enercon, the world’s third-largest wind turbine manufacturer, claims that it became aware of the patent breach during a wind energy conference in Dublin last March.
During a presentation at the event, Vestas representatives described elements of the firm’s manufacturing processes. Representatives of Enercon were at the event and became concerned.
The German firm claims that it offered Vestas a licence for the patented technology if it agreed to pay a 2 per cent royalty. However, this offer was rejected.
The matter is due to come before the courts on Friday, where a number of discovery orders will be sought. Both sides will ask the court to have their rival hand over sensitive data in relation to the development and manufacture of their products.
Established in 1984, Enercon has 7,000 employees and a turnover of €1.2 billion. Vestas Wind Energy was created in 2003, when manufacturing company Vestas merged with turbine manufacturer NEG Micon to create the largest wind turbine manufacturer in the world.
Vestas has installed turbines in 60 countries, and employs more than 11,200 people globally.
By Ian Kehoe
6 January 2008
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