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A Test Case for Intellectual Property in China

Will Chinese courts finally protect foreign IP?

3 min read

In the next few months, a series of lawsuits will play out in the Chinese courts that could define the risks foreign companies take when they try to make money in China’s booming markets. The U.S. green energy company AMSC is suing its former customer Sinovel Wind Group Co., China’s biggest wind turbine manufacturer, for breach of contract, copyright infringement, and theft of trade secrets. In total, AMSC, based in Devens, Mass., is asking for about US $1.2 billion in damages, making this the largest intellectual property case to date in China.


AMSC appears to have strong evidence, including a full confession from an AMSC employee who said he sold trade secrets to Sinovel. Yet China has a reputation as a place where intellectual property laws are routinely flouted. So the legal outcome is uncertain—and is of great interest to foreign companies. 


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This Dutch City Is Road-Testing Vehicle-to-Grid Tech

Utrecht leads the world in using EVs for grid storage

10 min read
This photograph shows a car with the words “We Drive Solar” on the door, connected to a charging station. A windmill can be seen in the background.

The Dutch city of Utrecht is embracing vehicle-to-grid technology, an example of which is shown here—an EV connected to a bidirectional charger. The historic Rijn en Zon windmill provides a fitting background for this scene.

We Drive Solar

Hundreds of charging stations for electric vehicles dot Utrecht’s urban landscape in the Netherlands like little electric mushrooms. Unlike those you may have grown accustomed to seeing, many of these stations don’t just charge electric cars—they can also send power from vehicle batteries to the local utility grid for use by homes and businesses.

Debates over the feasibility and value of such vehicle-to-grid technology go back decades. Those arguments are not yet settled. But big automakers like Volkswagen, Nissan, and Hyundai have moved to produce the kinds of cars that can use such bidirectional chargers—alongside similar vehicle-to-home technology, whereby your car can power your house, say, during a blackout, as promoted by Ford with its new F-150 Lightning. Given the rapid uptake of electric vehicles, many people are thinking hard about how to make the best use of all that rolling battery power.

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