GE sues Siemens over alleged secrets in gas turbine rivalry

Power generation turbine maker General Electric (GE) has sued its historic rival Siemens Energy in federal court, alleging Siemens gained and then used GE’s trade secrets to win a bidding contest with a turbine customer.

The lawsuit filed in Virginia federal court accuses a Siemens employee of somehow getting GE trade secrets through an email, then sending them out to dozens of colleagues in the company. Siemens allegedly used that information to win a gas turbine supply and maintenance contract in that state worth up to $340 million.

Other news reports, such as Reuters, indicated the customer for the gas turbines was Dominion Energy.

Siemens has denied any wrongdoing, saying once it discovered the trade secrets the action was identified and the employees involved were disciplined and separated from the company, according to reports.

GE, however, alleged that Siemens waited 16 months before disclosing the theft to its rival, according to the federal court lawsuit.

“The resulting harm to GE is not limited to the loss of the Virginia contract,” reads the complaint. “The trade secrets misappropriated by Siemens are relevant to at least eight other gas turbine contracts that Siemens unfairly won over GE’s competing bid in the sixteen-month period before it first notified GE.”

GE and Siemens join Mitsubishi Power as the three largest global manufacturers of power generation turbines both for gas-fired and coal-fired generation. All three companies date their origins back to the 19th century.

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