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Solvay Again Wins Patent Case in Germany

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Solvay has won another patent infringement case in Germany against Neo Chemicals & Oxides Ltd.. In a judgment released on September 3, 2020, the Düsseldorf Regional Court concluded that Neo’s commercialization of certain Cerium/Zirconium based mixed oxides had infringed Solvay’s patent EP 1527018. The infringement judgment is still subject to Neo’s right to appeal, but enforceable immediately under the condition of the provision of a security while the European Patent Office has confirmed the validity of the patent in two instances.

The Court ordered Neo to stop the infringement, meaning that Neo must not commercialize its products covered by the Solvay patent in Germany any longer. Neo has also been ordered to recall the infringing products which are still kept by its customers. Solvay has taken steps to enforce the judgment.

Neo was previously held liable for numerous violations of Solvay’s patents in the rare earth field, including unappealable judgments handed down by superior courts in Germany and the UK. The decision just made by the Düsseldorf Court also shows that Neo’s current infringing activities expose customers and OEMs to compliance and supply chain risks.

The Court held that Neo had also infringed the catalyst claims of the patent by providing the infringing mixed oxides to customers who use them to make catalysts for automotive exhaust gas depollution. According to the judgment, these catalysts are also infringing the patent. This implies that the import of such catalysts into Germany would also infringe the patent.

Respect for Intellectual Property Rights is essential for free, healthy competition and to promote further innovation. Solvay will continue to take vigorous action to enforce its rights against infringers.

Rare earth oxides are key ingredients (or ‘raw materials’) in automotive catalysts that abate noxious gases from engine exhaust. Ever stricter air quality standards require increasingly complex formulations of rare earth oxides that are the result of extensive research and innovation programs. Solvay’s OPtalys® and Actalys® product ranges offer tailored solutions for all types of automotive catalysts and contribute significantly to cleaner mobility.

Neo is an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Neo Performance Materials Inc., which is headquartered in Toronto, Canada, traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

About Solvay

Solvay is a science company whose technologies bring benefits to many aspects of daily life. With more than 24,100 employees in 64 countries, Solvay bonds people, ideas and elements to reinvent progress. The Group seeks to create sustainable shared value for all, notably through its Solvay One Planet plan crafted around three pillars: protecting the climate, preserving resources and fostering better life. The Group’s innovative solutions contribute to safer, cleaner, and more sustainable products found in homes, food and consumer goods, planes, cars, batteries, smart devices, health care applications, water and air purification systems. Founded in 1863, Solvay today ranks among the world’s top three companies for the vast majority of its activities and delivered net sales of €10.2 billion in 2019. Solvay is listed on Euronext Brussels (SOLB) and Paris and in the United States, where its shares (SOLVY) are traded through a Level I ADR program. Learn more at www.solvay.com.

Follow us on Twitter @SolvayGroup

Contact information

Sébastien Meric
Business Director
Rare Earth Business Line, GBU Special Chem
+33 4 3724 8665
sebastien.meric@solvay.com

Jeanette Stellbrink
Communication Manager
GBU Special Chem
+49 511 857 2446
jeanette.stellbrink@solvay.com

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