The full U.S. International Trade Commission has affirmed an administrative law judge's earlier ruling that a Chinese chemical manufacturer and its U.S. importer infringed on Flexsys America L.P.'s patents.
Sinorgchem Co. of Shandong, China, used Flexsys technology without permission to manufacture the rubber antidegradant 6PPD and its feedstock, 4-ADPA, the ITC ruled July 13.
The commission also ruled that Sovereign Chemical Co., the Akron-based sales agent for Sinorgchem, violated Flexsys patents when it sold Sinorgchem 6PPD and 4-ADPA in the U.S.
Both Sinorgchem and Sovereign Chemical violated Section 337 of the Tariff Act as Flexsys charged, the agency decided. It sent to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative an exclusion order forbidding Sinorgchem or Sovereign Chemical from selling Sinorgchem 6PPD or 4-ADPA in this country.
The result of the ITC decision is the same as the ruling of an administrative law judge last February. The judge also found Sinorgchem and Sovereign Chemical in violation of Section 337.
Also, like the administrative law judge, the ITC found that Korea Kumho Petrochemical Co. Ltd. didn't violate Flexsys' patent rights by buying 4-ADPA from Sinorgchem to make its own 6PPD.
In a July 25 news release, Flexsys said it will pursue its patent infringement lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio in Cleveland. The case had been stayed pending the ITC decision, the chemical producer said.
The company seeks $20 million in damages, as well as other relief, the release stated.
Flexsys said that although the ITC exonerated Korea Kumho on the Section 337 charge, the South Korean firm was included in the lawsuit because the issues before the district court are different from those before the ITC.
The court case also names South Korea's Kumho Tire Co. Inc. and its Kumho Tire U.S.A. Inc. distribution arm. According to Flexsys, Kumho, which has tire plants in South Korea and China, used Sinorgchem's 4-ADPA in manufacturing tires.
Officials from Sovereign Chemical and Kumho Tire U.S.A. declined to comment on the lawsuit.