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Honeywell sues over unlicensed refrigerant sales

Honeywell has reaffirmed its commitment to stop the sale and distribution of unlicensed versions of its Solstice yf (R1234yf) refrigerant, with the company's latest action involving the seizure of unlicensed refrigerant and filing of lawsuits in both the Czech Republic and Germany.

The lawsuits allege infringement of Honeywell patents covering the manufacture of R1234yf and its use in automotive air conditioning.

At Honeywell’s request, Czech customs seized on 12 September a shipment of unlicensed refrigerant manufactured in China. Following seizure of the suspected infringing refrigerant, Honeywell filed suit for patent infringement against a Czech distributor for attempting to offer the product for sale.

On 16 October, Honeywell filed two separate infringement suits in Germany against a Chinese manufacturer and a Chinese distributor for attempting to sell and distribute the suspected infringing refrigerant in Germany. 

Richard Winick, vice president and general manager, automotive refrigerants at Honeywell, said: “Honeywell is working to ensure that our customers have access to safe and high quality refrigerants, and we have a long history of working closely with global law enforcement agencies to stop the spread of potentially dangerous unlicensed or counterfeit products. We will continue to work closely with law enforcement and customs authorities worldwide to actively pursue and prosecute infringers and counterfeiters of our Solstice yf solution and other products.”

Just last year, Honeywell assisted Chinese authorities with a similar infringement situation in Shanghai. The Guangzhou Baiyun Court sentenced a man to nine months of jail time plus a criminal fine of CNY 50,000 for his violation of Honeywell’s intellectual property rights. This sentence followed a months-long investigation of the man’s counterfeiting factory. 

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