International Trade Commission Judge rules that Umicore infringes BASF and Argonne National Laboratory patents

Mar 01, 2016, 13:33 ET from BASF Corporation

ISELIN, N.J. and ARGONNE, Ill., March 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- In an initial patent dispute determination issued February 29, Judge Thomas B. Pender of the International Trade Commission (ITC) has confirmed that Umicore infringes on BASF and Argonne National Laboratory's patents covering nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) cathode materials by importing their material into the United States. In addition, the judge found that the use by others of Umicore's NMC cathode materials in electrochemical cells or batteries in the United States infringes the BASF and Argonne patents. Further, the Judge rejected Umicore's arguments that the patents are invalid and unenforceable.

"We are very pleased with Judge Pender's determination, which provides a clear confirmation that our competitor's commercial products infringe BASF and Argonne's patented technology," said Kenneth Lane, President of BASF's global Catalysts division. "Judge Pender clearly understood the significance of our patented technology, which is core to the development of advanced lithium-ion batteries, and Umicore's attempt to compete unfairly in the marketplace." 

BASF and Argonne proved that Umicore's commercial cathode powders infringe 14 different claims of their NMC cathode patents. The extensive evidence of Umicore's infringement was confirmed by scientific testing of Transmission Electron Microscopy, Synchrotron X-Ray Diffraction, and Inductively Coupled Plasma analysis.

"Argonne National Laboratory is an innovator in energy storage research and our NMC cathode technology is just one of a growing number of advanced battery material advances we have worked to create," said Alfred P. Sattelberger, Argonne Deputy Laboratory Director for Programs and Chief Research Officer. "We are proud that our energy storage discoveries have been embraced by the worldwide battery industry."

With financial assistance from the US Department of Energy (DOE), BASF in 2012 commissioned a factory in Elyria, Ohio, to produce NMC cathode precursor materials. BASF also conducts NMC cathode materials research and development in Beachwood, Ohio.

About BASF's Catalyst division

BASF's Catalysts division is the world's leading supplier of environmental and process catalysts. The group offers exceptional expertise in the development of technologies that protect the air we breathe, produce the fuels that power our world and ensure efficient production of a wide variety of chemicals, plastics and other products, including advanced battery materials. By leveraging our industry-leading R&D platforms, passion for innovation and deep knowledge of precious and base metals, BASF's Catalysts division develops unique, proprietary solutions that drive customer success. Further information on BASF's Catalysts division is available on the Internet at www.catalysts.basf.com.

About BASF                                                                

At BASF, we create chemistry for a sustainable future. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. The approximately 112,000 employees in the BASF Group work on contributing to the success of our customers in nearly all sectors and almost every country in the world. Our portfolio is organized into five segments: Chemicals, Performance Products, Functional Materials & Solutions, Agricultural Solutions and Oil & Gas. BASF generated sales of more than €70 billion in 2015. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA) and Zurich (AN). Further information at www.basf.com.

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SOURCE BASF Corporation



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