Clariant warns phosphinate flame retardant users of potential patent infringement

Despite Clariant’s significant worldwide intellectual property (IP) position related to phosphinate flame retardant products, the company reports that it is concerned that some polymer compounders and OEMs are considering local Chinese suppliers for diethylphosphinate aluminum salt (DEPAL) based flame retardants.

Clariant warns that its diethylphosphinate aluminum salt-based flame retardants are protected globally by patents.

This class of halogen-free flame retardants, often combined with nitrogen-containing, inorganic synergists, have become workhorses in engineering thermoplastics, mainly glass-filled polyamides and polyesters, but also epoxy resins. Clariant has been developing and advancing this technology for over two decades so that its patented Exolit OP flame retardants have become the benchmark in quality and performance for phosphinate flame retardants in the market.

The current IP portfolio comprises 80 families with more than 500 individual patents or patent applications globally — they cover phosphinate-based flame retardants, related polymer compositions and plastic products such as plug connectors, circuit boards, encapsulating compounds, power plugs, LED housings, capacitor housings, charging cables for cell phones, and engine covers.

Even though the company has been challenged by individual Chinese competitors, relevant patent rights remain valid and in force in many jurisdictions, including countries such as China, Japan, Germany, France, and the United States. Clariant continues to take legal action against potential infringers anywhere in the world.

Given that many OEMs are operating worldwide in electronic technologies, Clariant wishes to remind them to internally check for potential IP risks related to phosphinate flame retardants sourced from Chinese suppliers.

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