McAndrews, Held & Malloy Secures Additional Victory For Sinochem – U.S. International Trade Commission Declines to Review Earlier Decision Of No Violation in Coolant Case


McAndrews, Held & Malloy announced today that it has secured another victory for its client Sinochem Environmental Protection Chemicals (Taicang) Co., Ltd. before the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC).  The ITC decided not to review the decision of its chief administrative law judge in favor of Sinochem.

The decision in investigation No. 337-TA-623 affirms that Sinochem did not violate a consent order in the patent case, which involves a process for making a refrigerant that replaces an ozone-depleting coolant.  The administrative law judge also had ruled that “no enforcement measures are appropriate should the Commission find a violation of said Consent Order.”  The consent order is the focus of the second of two ITC victories secured by McAndrews for Sinochem this year.

“This is an important victory and a very favorable outcome for Sinochem,” said Thomas J. Wimbiscus, a shareholder at McAndrews and lead counsel on the case.

Alejandro Menchaca, a McAndrews shareholder and co-counsel for Sinochem, added, “We believed all along that INEOS would not prevail based on its flawed legal theories.”

INEOS Fluor Holdings Ltd., INEOS Fluor Ltd. and INEOS Fluor Americas LLC (collectively, “INEOS”) filed a complaint in December 2007 alleging that Sinochem infringed its U.S. Patent No. 5,559,276.  INEOS had sought civil fines of up to $100,000 per day, which could have totaled about $36 million.

The first victory for Sinochem in the case came in August 2009 when the ITC terminated the investigation with a finding of no violation.  That decision reversed the conclusion reached in the Remand Determination issued previously by the presiding administrative judge.  The reversal resulted from two successful petitions to review the decisions of the judge, who had twice ruled against Sinochem.

The consent order involved an “Old Process” for producing R-134a refrigerant, which is a widely used alternative to ozone-depleting CFC (chlorofluorocarbon) refrigerant.  Sinochem had redesigned its refrigerant-making process, and INEOS had earlier conceded that the new design did not infringe two of the three patents later asserted by INEOS.  In the enforcement action, INEOS had asserted that Sinochem had violated the consent order by failing to convert to the new design and by shipping coolant that allegedly was imported and sold after entry of the consent order by the ITC in 2008.

McAndrews attorneys Thomas J. Wimbiscus, Alejandro Menchaca, George P. McAndrews and Yufeng (Ethan) Ma represented Sinochem.

RELATED practices & Industries