On Thursday, Korea Kumho Petrochemical announced that it has won a six-year lawsuit with Flexsys America (a subsidiary of Solutia) related to production technology for 4-ADPA, a precursor to a widely-used rubber antidegradant, 6PPD. KKPC produced 6PPD from 4-ADPA imported from China, which Flexsys alleged was produced through a process that infringed on its own patented technology. In a series of suits, Flexsys sought to ban US imports of the chemicals themselves as well as tires produced from the disputed chemicals.
According to a statement from KKPC, “The Ohio Northern District Court ruled on July 6 that Kumho Petrochemical did not violate the patents of Flexsys. Flexsys has filed three lawsuits against Kumho for the past six years, including two with the US International Trade Commission, to prevent Kumho’s entry to the US market, but we have won all the three cases.” KKPC stated that, in the wake of the ruling, it planned to expand its 6PPD business in the United States.
The US Trade Commission had previously ruled that Kumho and Chinese 4-ADPA producer Sinorgchem did not infringe on the Flexsys patent.