BDO licensor Frontech accused of unauthorized use of INVISTA trade secrets
INVISTA filed a suit yesterday against Houston-based Frontech Inc. for misappropriation of trade secrets, theft, false advertising and unfair competition.
The trade secrets at issue involve INVISTA’s proprietary process for manufacturing butanediol (BDO), a chemical intermediate with applications including automobile parts, adhesives, personal care products and spandex.
INVISTA produces and licenses BDO globally, utilizing its proprietary, high-pressure hydrogenation process. Frontech competes with INVISTA, primarily in China, to license BDO technology.
According to the complaint, INVISTA recently discovered that Frontech has been offering INVISTA’s proprietary processes to potential licensees in China, falsely representing INVISTA’s unique process as its own. INVISTA recently received additional evidence including an engineering design diagram used by Frontech, which was virtually identical to INVISTA’s proprietary diagram for the same process.
“INVISTA is a company known for its world-class technology and continuous innovation,” said Bob Francois, president of INVISTA Specialty Materials. “We take great care to protect our licensees’ investment in our valuable technology and will not tolerate theft or misuse of our intellectual property.”
INVISTA and Frontech are currently competing for several Chinese BDO technology projects, and the bidding on some of these projects closes very soon. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, seeks damages and declaratory and injunctive relief to halt Frontech’s misconduct.
INVISTA has been licensing its leading technologies in chemical intermediates and polymers in China since 1990. The total investment of INVISTA's Chinese licensees has exceeded RMB 32 billion.
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