China’s Supreme People’s Court to hear AMSC cases against Chinese wind turbine maker

AMSC, a Devens technology company in the wind energy and power grid industry, said Friday that China’s Supreme People’s Court has scheduled a hearing for May 29 to review the jurisdiction of AMSC’s software copyright infringement cases against Sinovel Wind Group Co. Ltd.

Sinoval, a large Chinese company that makes wind turbines, was once AMSC’s biggest customer. Then Sinoval stopped accepting shipments from AMSC, which was previously known as American Superconductor.

In 2011, AMSC filed several lawsuits against Sinoval in China, alleging contractual breaches and intellectual property theft and seeking more than $1.2 billion in damages and payments.

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Meanwhile, a slow down in the wind energy business was one cause for a layoff last November. At that time, AMSC had 340 employees worldwide, down from a peak of about 800 in 2011.

Friday’s press release about the status of AMSC’s legal proceedings in China included a statement from John Powell, the company’s general counsel.

“President Xi Jinping recently said that China will protect legitimate rights of foreign enterprises,” Powell said. “AMSC’s cases against Sinovel are the perfect litmus test for whether statements like these are rhetoric or reality. They will help to determine whether China will protect the intellectual property rights of all companies – both foreign and domestic.”