Swiss-based chemical company Ineos has taken legal action against China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (Sinopec), Asia's largest oil refiner, for the misuse of trade secrets in its acrylonitrile business.
Acrylonitrile is used to manufacture a wide range of goods in plastics and carbon fiber. Ineos says that Sinopec has broken a long established technology agreement which, together with trade secret misuse by other Sinopec companies, has enabled development of a series of new acrylonitrile plants without Ineos agreement or consent.
Ineos says that the prolific building of acrylonitrile copy plants in China will cause major harm to its acrylonitrile business, which generates up to $500 million per year of profit and has a replacement value of $3 billion. It supports around 5,000 direct and indirect jobs in the U.S. and Europe.