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Honeywell wins latest battle for R1234yf

CHINA: Honeywell has won the latest round in a continuing series of court battles between refrigerant manufacturers over the automotive air conditioning gas R1234yf.

In the latest episode, at the end of last month, the Supreme People’s Court in China upheld the earlier findings of the Beijing IP Court and the China National Intellectual Property Administration that the claims in Honeywell’s application patent (No. 201210530088.9), which cover the use of HFO-1234yf in automotive air conditioning systems, are valid. The court also dismissed Arkema’s challenge to these claims in China.

In a statement following the decision, Honeywell said: “This decision goes a long way to protecting Honeywell and its authorised suppliers and distributors of 1234yf for automotive air conditioning applications in China and abroad and deterring unlicensed activity of Arkema and other unlicensed producers. The import of HFO-1234yf from China into any country in which Honeywell holds related patents is also an act of patent infringement,” it claimed.

Widely accepted as the global replacement for R134a in automotive air conditioning systems, R1234yf, Chemours and Honeywell, who collaborated on the development of the low GWP refrigerant in 2010, hold most or all of the patents issued. The validity of some of these patents have been fiercely disputed, particularly by the two other major refrigerant manufacturers and suppliers Arkema and Mexichem (now Koura).

For their part, Chemours and Honeywell have also taken multiple legal actions against those seen to be infringing those patents.

Commenting on the most recent court decision, Chemours commented: “This decision and the dismissal of Arkema’s challenge to the claims represents a major victory for Chemours and Honeywell to ensure that our customers in the mobile air conditioning market have a source for safe and reliable refrigerants that meet the highest quality standards and work to advance global sustainability initiatives.”

Invalid

It’s not all plain sailing for the US refrigerant manufacturers. In September, China’s State Intellectual Property Office invalidated Honeywell’s R1234yf manufacturing patent no. ZL200780007465.8 following a challenge from Chinese manufacturer Zhejiang Huanxin Fluorine Materials Co. 

The Chinese company claims to have mastered the technology of producing R1234yf through independent research and development using trifluoropropylene as a raw material. 

Although Honeywell has not yet responded to questions from the Cooling Post, it is thought to be mounting a legal challenge to that decision.

Last month, Chemours filed a second R1234yf patent infringement lawsuit in Japan against Japanese refrigerant manufacturer AGC after a previous action failed in the Japanese courts.

In turn, AGC says it has filed invalidation proceedings against several of Chemours’ patents, and claims that the patent office has disclosed the advance notice of trial decision that Chemours’ patents are invalid. 

Related stories:

Chemours “disappointed” at R1234yf patent failure
USA/JAPAN: The recent R1234yf patent infringement lawsuit brought by Chemours against Japanese refrigerant manufacturer AGC was filed after a previous action failed in the Japanese courts. Read more…

Chemours files second lawsuit over R1234yf – 12 November 2021
USA: Chemours has filed a second R1234yf patent infringement lawsuit in Japan against Japanese refrigerant manufacturer AGC Inc. Read more…

Chemours claims AGC infringed R1234yf patents – 20 November 2019
USA: Refrigerant manufacturer Chemours has filed a patent infringement lawsuit in Japan against Japanese chemical manufacturer AGC over the HFO refrigerant R1234yf. Read more…

Honeywell reports second R1234yf seizure – 17 September 2019
BELGIUM: Refrigerant manufacturer Honeywell has announced a further seizure of patent-busting R1234yf in Poland, the second seizure in that country in just three months. Read more…

Honeywell stops patent-busting R1234yf shipment – 25 July 2019
USA/POLAND: Polish customs authorities have seized a shipment of suspected patent-infringing R1234yf refrigerant at the Baltic port of Gdynia. Read more…

Honeywell gets tough on R1234yf – 30 October 2018
USA: Action by Honeywell has resulted in the seizure of a shipment of R1234yf, with the refrigerant manufacturer filing alleged patent infringement lawsuits in the Czech Republic and Germany. Read more…

EC ends R1234yf antitrust investigation25 October 2017
EUROPE: The European Commission has ended its antitrust investigation into cooperation between Honeywell and DuPont (now Chemours) on the production of refrigerant R1234yf. Read more…

Trade Commission ends R1234yf probe12 August 2017
USA: The US Federal Trade Commission has closed its investigation into agreements between Honeywell and DuPont – now Chemours – over the sale of the HFO refrigerant R1234yf. Read more…

Arkema files new complaint over R1234yf – 2 June 2017
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. Read more…

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