BASF and Argonne Settle With Umicore

26.04.2017 -

German chemical giant BASF and Chicago, USA-based Argonne National Laboratory have settled out of court their running patent disputes with Belgium’s Umicore. The two companies said they had agreed to license the technology to the Belgian company to make, use, sell, offer to sell, distribute and import nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) cathode material for lithium-ion batteries in the US under their US patents.

Action had been pending in the US District Court for the District of Delaware. The parties said, however, they planned to file a petition for rescission of the existing limited exclusion order with the International Trade Commission (ITC).

The lawsuit was brought in spring 2015 by BASF and US partner Argonne, which owns the technology developed with investment aid from the US Department of Energy.  In December 2016, the ITC ruled that Umicore had infringed the patent. As a consequence, the company was to be banned from importing either its batteries containing the specified NMC materials or the materials alone. The Commission found also that Umicore contributed to its customers’ infringement.

In an earlier ruling, the ITC’s Judge Thomas B. Pender had rejected Umicore's arguments that the patents were invalid and unenforceable. In its filing, BASF also claimed that Umicore had sold the technology to third parties, including the US arm of Japan's Makita Corporation.