Houston, Texas -- Invista filed a suit on 15 June against Houston-based company Frontech Inc. alleging misappropriation of trade secrets, theft, false advertising and unfair competition.
In its 16 June announcement of the suit, Invista said, "The trade secrets at issue involve Invista's proprietary process for manufacturing butanediol (BDO), a chemical intermediate with applications including automotive parts, adhesives, personal care products and spandex polyurethane fibres.
US-based Invista produces and licenses BDO globally, using its proprietary, high-pressure hydrogenation process. Invista says Frontech competes with Invista, primarily in China, to license BDO technology.
Invista notes that it has been licensing its technologies in chemicalintermediates and polymers in China since 1990, adding that the totalinvestment of Invista's Chinese licensees has exceeded RMB 32 000million ($4706 million).
The complaint says that Invista recently discovered that Frontech has been offering Invista's proprietary processes to potential licensees in China, falsely representing Invista's unique process as its own. "Invista recently received additional evidence including an engineering design diagram used by Frontech, which was virtually identical to Invista's proprietary diagram for the same process," the company notes.
"Invista is a company known for its world-class technology and continuous innovation," claimed Bob Francois, president of Invista Specialty Materials, in the company announcement. "We take great care to protect our licensees' investment in our valuable technology and will not tolerate theft or misuse of our intellectual property."
Invista said the two companies are currently competing for several Chinese BDO technology projects, and the bidding on some of these projects closes very soon.
The lawsuit, filed in US District Court for the Southern District of Texas, seeks damages and declaratory and injunctive relief to halt Frontech's misconduct.