FRANCE: Refrigerant manufacturer Arkema has complained to the European Commission claiming Honeywell is abusing its dominant position in the use of R1234yf in car air conditioning systems.

Arkema, which has a history of disputes over R1234yf, says it is convinced of compelling new grounds for the EC to pursue an abuse of dominance case and claims that “Honeywell’s practices are preventing fair competition to the detriment of consumers, car manufacturers and the environment”.

Arkema insists it wants to contribute to a competitive market by obtaining a worldwide FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) licence to Honeywell’s patents.

In 2011 Arkema’s complaints to the EC prompted antitrust investigations concerning agreements between Honeywell and DuPont over the development of the low GWP HFO refrigerant. It was only one of a series of patent disputes over R1234yf, which was developed to replace R134a in car air conditioning systems.

Arkema maintains that its latest complaint is even more pressing now, with the entire worldwide car industry moving to the use of 1234yf. Consistent with the new complaint, Arkema says it has withdrawn its previous complaint.

Although welcoming the withdrawal of Arkema’s original complaint, Honeywell said: “Arkema’s new complaint appears to be nothing more than an attempt at restating a part of its earlier complaint that the European Commission already decided not to pursue several years ago.

Honeywell maintains that it acts in full compliance with EU competition rules and that, like earlier complaints, the restated complaint is without any merit.