SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (May 24, 2012)—Phenolic resins producer SI Group Inc. has taken its trade secrets fight with Sino Legend (Zhangjiagang) Chemical Co. Ltd. to the U.S. International Trade Commission, asking it to investigate the Chinese company and ban some of its products from importation into the U.S.
Schenectady-based SI Group, in its May 21 complaint with the ITC, asked for the investigation of Sino Legend, Red Avenue Chemical Co. Ltd. and other affiliates and representatives of those companies. The U.S. firm said recent statements by Sino Legend and Red Avenue confirmed they plan to increase U.S. tackifier imports this year.
Sino Legend responded that it will work with the ITC to evaluate its compliance with regulations. The firm said its production capabilities and own independent research conducted in the 1980s has fueled its growth.
“We will continue to actively defend our intellectual property, especially as we move forward with plans to enter the U.S. and European markets this year, undeterred by competitive saber rattling,” said Corey Xie, deputy manager of Sino Legend, in a press release.
SI Group China sued Sino Legend in February 2007, alleging that company illegally had taken SI Group trade secrets to use in its production of tackifier resins. SI Group claims Sino Legend hired its Shanghai, China, plant production manager in May 2007, and began producing tackifier resins “virtually identical to SI Group's proprietary tackifier resins,” according to SI Group.
In its statement, Sino Legend said it now holds a 70-percent market share in China and 30 percent in the rest of Asia, four years after its founding. It said some “old-line competitors continue to mount campaigns to prevent an innovation from flourishing, preferring to pursue unfounded legal claims and trade sanctions versus competition on the merits of their products.”
SI Group said that a judicially authorized technology verification center confirmed the confidential nature of the firm's technology and the similarities between SI Group and Sino Legend product offerings, along with the manufacturing processes and equipment used by both companies. SI Group withdrew its initial suit, and in March 2011 refiled a new suit because of more evidence it uncovered.