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Flexsys America Seeks Damages and Importation Injunction in Patent Case

ST. LOUIS, March 5 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Flexsys America L.P., a subsidiary of Solutia Inc. (NYSE: SOA), today announced it is moving forward with its patent infringement case against Sinorgchem Co., Ltd. (Sinorgchem), Korea Kumho Petrochemical Co., Ltd. (KKPC), Kumho Tire Co. Inc. (Kumho Tire) and Kumho Tire U.S.A., Inc. (Kumho USA) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. The suit claims infringement of U.S. patents held by Flexsys as a result of the importation, sale and use in the United States of 4-ADPA made by Sinorgchem, 6PPD and other antidegradants made from Sinorgchem’s 4-ADPA, and tires made by Kumho Tire containing those antidegradants. Flexsys is seeking a multi-million dollar damage award, as well as a permanent injunction against the defendants.

Originally filed on January 28, 2005, this case has been temporarily stayed by the court since May 30, 2007, pending the conclusion of Flexsys’ proceedings before the International Trade Commission (ITC). “In order to move forward in our preferred venue in Ohio and to have our case heard by a jury in Akron, we plan to voluntarily terminate all ITC proceedings and resume the Ohio case immediately,” said Tim Wessel, president of Flexsys. “We are committed to protecting Flexsys’ significant investments in the proprietary manufacturing of our rubber chemical products,” continued Wessel.

In the Ohio civil case, Flexsys will seek to present its patent infringement case to a jury and let the jury decide the issue of infringement. Flexsys will also ask for multi-million dollars in damages on the basis of tires sold in the United States containing infringing 6PPD and other antidegradants. The complaint originally named Sinorgchem, KKPC, Kumho USA, and Kumho Tire as defendants, “but given the amount of time that has elapsed since the complaint was filed, we are investigating other potential infringers, and will evaluate the appropriate steps as needed to enforce our rights,” said Mike Donnelly, vice president of Flexsys. Flexsys is also seeking a permanent injunction barring the importation, sale and use in the United States of Sinorgchem’s 4-ADPA, antidegradants made by Sinorgchem and KKPC from Sinorgchem’s 4-ADPA, and tires made by Kumho Tire and Kumho USA containing those antidegradants. “We respect the intellectual property rights of others, and we expect others – from suppliers to customers to competitors – to respect ours. We invest heavily in developing these processes and are committed to protecting that investment by enforcing our legal rights globally. This commitment ultimately benefits our customers,” Donnelly added.

The patents at issue in this case are U.S. Patents 5,117,063 and 5,608,111, which pertain to a three-step method of producing the chemical intermediate 4-ADPA, along with an additional step for converting 4-ADPA to products known as antidegradants. These products are used in the manufacture of rubber products such as tires, belts and hoses to prevent premature degradation due to exposure to sun, heat, ozone and other factors. One such antidegradant is 6PPD, which is manufactured and sold by Flexsys under the brand name Santoflex(R) 6PPD.

Here is the press release.

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