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Solvay wins another patent case against Neo

Petrochemical industry | 20 Jan 2022 IST | Polymerupdate.com
Solvay announces that the Higher Regional Court Karlsruhe has confirmed an earlier judgment on a patent case against Neo Chemicals & Oxides (Europe) Ltd (“Neo”) involving a Solvay material for automotive catalysts. The Regional Court of Mannheim (Landgericht Mannheim) had judged on December 19, 2017 that Neo had infringed the German designation of Solvay's European Patent 1 435 338 B1 (the "Patent") by supplying certain cerium oxide materials in Germany. Catalysts comprising this Solvay invention are current state-of-the-art technology for minimizing NOx emissions of the latest generation Diesel engines, and are also covered by the Patent. The German Federal Supreme Court confirmed the validity of the Patent in a final decision in April 2021. After a hearing before the Higher Regional Court Karlsruhe on December 8, 2021, the infringement judgment of the Regional Court of Mannheim against Neo was now confirmed.

In its now confirmed judgment, the Regional Court of Mannheim prohibited Neo and two of its directors from offering, putting on the market, using, or importing (or possessing for such reasons) the infringing products in Germany. The Court had further declared that Neo is liable for damages in respect of their historical sales of such infringing ceric oxide products and has to provide an accounting of their infringing activities. Solvay will now pursue a damages claim against Neo of which, on preliminary assessment, Solvay expects that its related claims might reach a double-digit million Euro range.

As announced earlier, also UK courts in two instances had found the Patent to be valid and infringed by Neo. Another UK court case is underway to determine the amount of damages that Neo owes Solvay on the basis of the infringement in the UK.

Rare earth oxides are used in automotive catalysts to abate noxious gases from engine exhaust. Ever stricter air quality standards require increasingly complex formulated rare earth oxides. Solvay’s OPtalys® and Actalys® product ranges offer tailored solutions for all types of automotive catalysts and contribute significantly to cleaner mobility.

Respect of Intellectual Property Rights is essential for free and healthy competition. Solvay will continue to take vigorous action to enforce its rights against infringers. Solvay will help its customers to cope with any difficulties as they have been exposed to corresponding compliance risks by Neo.

Neo is part of the Chemicals and Oxides Segment of the Neo Performance Materials Inc. group. The production facilities of the Chemicals and Oxides Segment are in Zibo, China and Sillamäe, Estonia.

About Solvay
Solvay is a science company whose technologies bring benefits to many aspects of daily life. With more than 23,000 employees in 64 countries, Solvay bonds people, ideas and elements to reinvent progress. The Group seeks to create sustainable shared value for all, notably through its Solvay One Planet roadmap crafted around three pillars: protecting the climate, preserving resources and fostering a better life. The Group’s innovative solutions contribute to safer, cleaner, and more sustainable products found in homes, food and consumer goods, planes, cars, batteries, smart devices, health care applications, water and air purification systems. Founded in 1863, Solvay today ranks among the world’s top three companies for the vast majority of its activities and delivered net sales of €9 billion in 2020. Solvay is listed on Euronext Brussels and Paris (SOLB).
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