F-Gas News: Czech customs seizes shipment of counterfeit HFO refrigerant after Honeywell tip-off

Honeywell to sue Chinese manufacturer and two distributors over R1234yf counterfeit

Czech customs have seized a shipment of unlicensed refrigerant in the Czech Republic and started lawsuits against manufacturers 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.

Honeywell says that at its request, on September 12 Czech customs seized 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. Then on October 16, the firm filed two further infringement suits in Germany against a Chinese manufacturer and a Chinese distributor for attempting to sell and distribute the suspected infringing refrigerant in Germany.

Honeywell said that these actions prove its commitment to protecting its investment in the development and commercialisation of authentic Solstice yf (R1234yf)

Richard Winick, Vice President and General Manager, Automotive Refrigerants, 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.”

The manufacturer added that it is ’committed to providing customers with environmentally preferable refrigerants that are available immediately and safe for their intended use. Honeywell’s refrigerants are subject to extensive quality and safety testing before they are sold.’

Last year, Honeywell assisted Chinese authorities with a similar infringement case in Shanghai, which saw the Guangzhou Baiyun Court sentence a man to a nine-month jail sentence plus a criminal fine of CNY 50,000 (£5500) for his violation of Honeywell’s intellectual property rights. The sentence followed an extensive investigation of the man’s counterfeiting factory.

Source: RAC plus