Chinese copycat chemical spat

Chemical producer Ineos has lodged a legal challenge against China’s state-owned Sinopec and several of its subsidiaries over intellectual property relating to acrylonitrile production.

Ineos claims that Sinopec Ningbo Engineering Company has broken a long established technology agreement, among other abuses of Ineos’ trade secrets allowing Sinopec to build large new plants using what Ineos claims to be its technology, but without paying licensing fees.

Ineos is pursuing the case both through the high court of Beijing and through separate arbitration in Sweden. ‘The fundamental value of a business like Ineos depends on its intellectual property which includes trade secrets and patents, covering technology, design and operations,’ said Jim Ratcliffe, the company’s chairman, in a statement.  ‘Unless we protect our intellectual property, ultimately we will see the demise of Ineos.’

However, Sinopec contends that its plants do not infringe any Ineos intellectual property. In a statement to Reuters, the firm claimed that it developed the technology independently through its Shanghai Research Institute of Petrochemical Technology subsidiary.

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