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Sinovel faces court action in Brazil over AMSC IP theft claims

Brazilian developer Desenvix is said to have filed a court order to inspect Sinovel wind turbines imported into Brazil, to find out if they contain components affected by the intellectual property (IP) rights dispute with technology supplier AMSC.

According to a statement from AMSC, Desenvix has sought an order in a Barra dos Coqueiros court. US-based AMSC has filed a similar case.

“Since the turbines arrived in Brazil, Desenvix has been requesting evidence from Sinovel that the wind turbines to not contain AMSC’s stolen intellectual property,” AMSC says.

“To date, Sinovel has refused to provide adequate evidence. As a result, Desenvix filed the court order.”

The turbines in question are presumably the 23 1.5MW Sinovel machines for the Barra dos Coqueiros wind farm in Sergipe state, ordered by Desenvix in the first Brazilian deal for Chinese wind equipment. The wind farm was due to become operational by the end of July, but is behind schedule and still being built.

AMSC is already in the midst of a complex set of legal actions with Sinovel in China over alleged IP infringement, which the Chinese turbine group denies, as well as commercial disputes over breach of supply contracts.

Last year a court in Austria jailed a former AMSC employee for stealing wind turbine software code from the company. The court heard claims that the man colluded with people acting for Sinovel over the theft.

The US company threw down a marker last September when it first revealed details of the alleged thefts relating to Sinovel, formerly its biggest customer.

At the time AMSC chief executive Daniel McGahn said: “We believe it is important for all wind developers to know the wind turbine Sinovel is producing and upgrading today may contain stolen intellectual property from AMSC."

AMSC is understood to have instigated legal moves in Brazil to investigate the imported turbines, prompting Desenvix to follow suit.

The Brazilian developer told Recharge it has no immediate comment on the issue or AMSC's statement.

In November Ireland's Mainstream Renewable Power put on hold a 1GW memorandum of understanding for Sinovel turbines while the Chinese group resolves its disputes with AMSC.