SOUTH KOREA: LG Chem wins patent suit against Dow Chemical

The ruling by the Seoul Central District Court recognizes LG Chem independent production knowhow in the manufacturing of elastomers that can help the company expand into foreign markets.

Elastomers are elastic materials mostly used to make seals, high-quality adhesives, shock absorbers and molded flexible parts. Their production requires specialized catalysts and hightech manufacturing processes and currently only four companies in the world make them.

LG Chem said it has developed a unique manufacturing process using metallocene as a catalyst and succeeded in creating the capacity to produce 60,000 tons of elastomers per year in 2008.

The company's annual production capability has increased to 90,000 tons with it moving to adjust output to reflect worldwide demand.

The global market size is valued at around 2 trillion won ($1.7 billion), with industry insiders predicting demand could go up to 3 trillion won in 2015.

Dow Chemical, a U.S.-based multinational chemical company, claimed LG Chem violated its patent right in making the elastomer and took legal action in December 2009.  

Source: Daily "The Korea Times", Seoul, through Yonhap News Agency; 16 Feb 2012

(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)