Rare–Earth Patent Cases in China A Benchmark Decision? Solvay Wins Two Rare–Earth Patent Cases in China

Editor: Dominik Stephan

This verdict could see western companies popping the corks: Belgian speciality chemicals company Solvay has won two patent cases concerning rare earth mixed oxides against HySci Specialty Materials of China. The court decision could become a benchmark for similar cases, industry insiders believe...

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Solvay wins important patent case for rare earth mixed oxides in China.
Solvay wins important patent case for rare earth mixed oxides in China.
(Picture: Ernhofer/PROCESS)

Tianjin/PR China – The Tianjin High Court has ordered HySci to immediately stop the production and the sale of certain rare earth mixed oxides used in automotive catalysts. Solvay was in turn awarded a 5.6 million RMB (€ 0.67 million) compensation.

Separately, the Beijing High Court confirmed the validity of a Solvay patent, confirming an earlier decision by China's State Intellectual Property Office. The Belgian company's competitor HySci had previously claimed that the patent was invalid, a request that was now rejected in final decision.

“Intellectual Property Essential to Support Research and Development”

"We are pleased with these two landmark rulings in China as they will strengthen Solvay's Intellectual Property (IP) rights position in one of the world's main growth markets for rare earth mixed oxides," said Du Hua, President Solvay Rare Earth Systems. "IP enforcement is essential to support Solvay's long-term research and development for higher performance and value-added mixed oxides. It also helps to ensure a level playing field for our customers."

Solvay is the world leader in rare earth performance materials for automotive catalysts, lighting, high-precision polishing and medical, nuclear and pigment specialties, recycling, and separation technology. Rare earths mixed oxides are among the main building blocks of automotive exhaust line catalysts, which are designed to abate noxious gases from the vehicle's engine exhaust before they are released into the atmosphere.