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Honeywell Defeats Solvay Patent Case Over Cooling Agents

Honeywell International Inc. won a jury’s verdict that a patent asserted by Solvay SA on technology to replace ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbon refrigerants is invalid.

Solvay, based in Brussels, sued Morris Township, New Jersey-based Honeywell in 2006 claiming infringement. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, ruling on an earlier decision that Honeywell infringed the patent, had ordered further proceedings.

Jurors in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware, said today that the patent wasn’t valid because the invention was anticipated by another patent and by a 1994 application, according to court papers. Part of the description was obvious, the jury said.

“Honeywell is pleased that the jury found Solvay’s patent to be invalid,” Peter F. Dalpe, a Honeywell spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement. “Honeywell has always defended its rights and will continue to do so vigorously.”

Neil Hirsch, a U.S.-based spokesman for Solvay, didn’t immediately respond an e-mail seeking comment on the ruling.

Honeywell fell 20 cents to $44.07 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading at 2:25 p.m. Solvay rose 23 cents to 71.93 euros in Brussels.

The case is Solvay SA v. Honeywell International Inc., 06CV557-SLR, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

To see the patent, click: 6,730,817.

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