According to reports, American Superconductor shares are trading sharply lower after the wind turbine technology company announced that it is filing criminal and civil complaints in China against Sinovel Wind Group, which had been one of American Superconductor’s key customers. The charges allege “the illegal use” of the company’s intellectual property.
“These cases follow an intensive investigation conducted by both AMSC and law enforcement,” the company said in a statement. “Based in part upon evidence obtained through the investigations, AMSC believes that Sinovel illegally obtained and used AMSC’s intellectual property to upgrade its 1.5 megawatt wind turbines in the field to meet proposed Chinese grid codes and to potentially allow for the use of core electrical components from other manufacturers.”
American Superconductor said it is seeking to compel Sinovel and related parties “to cease and desist from infringing its intellectual property.” The company also seeks monetary damages, and it has filed a claim for arbitration seeking to compel Sinovel to pay for past product shipments, and to accept contracts byt not yet delivered components and spare parts under existing contracts.
The company added that it is “now operating its business on the assumption that Sinovel will not be a customer.”
“We are taking legal action against Sinovel based on its contractual breaches and strong evidence of its criminal misconduct,” AMSC CEO Daniel McGahn said in a statement. “These actions send a clear message that AMSC is enforcing its intellectual property and commercial contracts.