ST. LOUIS (April 26, 2010)—Flexsys America L.P. has won important court rulings abroad that it said will bolster its efforts to assert its intellectual property rights in the U.S.
The South Korean Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal of a lower court decision which found key aspects of Flexsys' South Korean patents for its proprietary PPD2 antidegradant manufacturing process to be valid, according to Flexsys' parent Solutia Inc. The South Korean decision followed closely on similar decisions in China's Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court and the German Federal Patent Court, the company said.
Also, the European Patent Office rejected a competitor's attempt to invalidate Flexsys' PPD patent in the European Union, the company said.
These decisions have no direct influence on the status of Flexsys' efforts to uphold its patent rights in the U.S., but do serve as useful precedents in that fight, said Solutia Marketing Manager Mark Jeffrey.
In March 2009, Flexsys reopened a lawsuit in Cleveland federal district court against a group of defendants including Chinese chemical manufacturer Sinorgchem Co. Ltd., chemical distributor Sovereign Chemical Co., Korea Kumho Petrochemical Co. Ltd., and Kumho tire making subsidiaries Kumho Tire Co. Inc. and Kumho Tire U.S.A. Inc.
Flexsys accuses these companies of using patented Flexsys processes without permission to manufacture, distribute and use the antidegradant 6PPD and its feedstock, 4-ADPA. The company suspended the lawsuit while it pursued an ultimately unsuccessful effort to exclude Sinorgchem antidegradants from the U.S. market. The lawsuit is still in the discovery stage, Jeffrey said.