According the Bloomberg website, the antitrust complaint will escalate the EC probe sparked by French manufacturer Arkema in 2011.
R1234yf, which is also the subject of on-going worldwide patent disputes, became the subject of European Commission antitrust proceedings in December 2011 after complaints regarding agreements between Honeywell and DuPont for the development of a new refrigerant for air conditioning systems in cars. It was also investigating whether Honeywell holds and abuses a dominant position over R1234yf.
The Commission’s investigation looked at complaints alleging that Honeywell and DuPont entered into anti-competitive arrangements as regards the development of the new generation of refrigerants. Specifically, this included whether joint development, licensing and production arrangements entered into between the two companies in relation to these refrigerants restrict competition on the markets.
The Commission was also to examine whether Honeywell engaged in deceptive conduct during the evaluation of 1234yf between 2007 and 2009. It is claimed that Honeywell did not disclose its patents and patent applications while the refrigerant was being assessed and then failed to grant licences on fair and reasonable (so called “FRAND”) terms.
Honeywell and DuPont have both denied the allegations. Of this latest rumour, Honeywell told the Cooling Post it had not been notified of any procedural steps by the European Commission since the opening of proceedings in 2011.
“Honeywell is confident that our practices are consistent with the law and that the Commission will conclude that we acted in full compliance with European Union competition rules,” added a statement from the company.