As the world celebrates Global Wind Day on June 15th, we are reminded of the economic, political, and legal issues that must be addressed to further advance wind technology. With regard to the legal issues, consideration must always be given to the patent landscape. In the past twenty years, nearly 500 U.S. patents have issued with the words “wind turbine” in the claims; 123 patents issuing in 2008 alone. The technologies covered vary from improvements in blade design to methods for detecting ice on a wind turbine. Patents are government validated assets. For those who do not own the assets, patents become economic roadblocks. Companies in the wind-energy industry must face the reality: You either own the assets, or are subject to the roadblocks.
Before bringing a new product to market, every wind energy company should ask itself two important questions: