Solvay wins patent case against Neo concerning diesel emission catalyst material

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Hanover, December 20, 2017  ---  Solvay announces today that it has won a patent case against Neo Chemicals & Oxides (Europe) Ltd. (“Neo”) involving a Solvay material for automotive catalysts. The Regional Court of Mannheim (Landgericht Mannheim)  judged yesterday that Neo has infringed the German designation of Solvay's European Patent 1 435 338 B1 ("the Patent") by supplying certain cerium oxide materials in Germany. Catalysts comprising this Solvay invention are current state-of-the-art technology for minimizing NOx emissions of the latest generation Diesel engines, and are also covered by the Patent.

In its judgment, the Court prohibited Neo and two of its directors from offering, putting on the market, using, or importing (or possessing for such reasons) the infringing products in Germany. The Court has further declared that Neo is liable for damages in respect of their historical sales of such infringing ceric oxide products and has to provide an accounting of their infringing activities. On preliminary assessment Solvay expects that its related claims might reach a double-digit million Euro range.

The Mannheim Court refused Neo's request to wait for the Patent Court decision on Neo’s attempt to invalidate the Patent, stating that it is not very likely to be successful. Solvay is provisionally enforcing  the judgment. Neo has the right to appeal the Mannheim Court's decision, however during the appeal the decision will remain enforceable.

Rare earth oxides are used in automotive catalysts to abate noxious gases from engine exhaust. Ever stricter air quality standards require increasingly complex formulated rare earth oxides. Solvay’s OPtalys® and Actalys® product ranges offer tailored solutions for all types of automotive catalysts and contributes significantly to cleaner mobility.

Solvay is committed to vigorously enforcing its intellectual property rights against suspected unauthorized use. It has also sued Neo in the United Kingdom Patent Court claiming infringement of the UK designation of the Patent.

Neo is an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary the Neo Performance Materials Inc., which is headquartered in Toronto, Canada and which has closed its initial public offering on the Toronto Stock Exchange on December 8, 2017.


A further statement dated December 22nd is available here.



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Solvay is a multi-specialty chemical company, committed to developing chemistry that addresses key societal challenges. Solvay innovates and partners with customers in diverse global end markets. Its products and solutions are used in planes, cars, smart and medical devices, batteries, in mineral and oil extraction, among many other applications promoting sustainability. Its lightweighting materials enhance cleaner mobility, its formulations optimize the use of resources and its performance chemicals improve air and water quality. Solvay is headquartered in Brussels with around 27,000 employees in 58 countries. Net sales were € 10.9 billion in 2016, with 90% from activities where Solvay ranks among the world’s top 3 leaders. Solvay SA (SOLB.BE) is listed on Euronext Brussels and Paris (Bloomberg: SOLB.BB - Reuters: SOLB.BR) and in the United States its shares (SOLVY) are traded through a level-1 ADR program.

Solvay  Special Chem is world leader in selected specialties based on Fluorine, Rare Earths, Strontium and Barium. The GBU leverages its distinctive knowledge to provide specialized products and solutions to selected industries, such as: rare earth-based formulations for use in automotive catalysts, luminophores and polishing; NOCOLOK® fluxes for automotive heat exchangers; Solkane® 365 as foam blowing agent in thermal insulation foams; fluorinated intermediates for agrochemicals and pharmaceuticals; process chemicals for semiconductors; barium salts for electronic passive components, etc.