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Atotech, a leader in specialty plating chemicals, equipment and services, today announced that it has won the patent infringement case relating to its Stannatech process. One of Atotech's competitors* had filed the case in China despite having lost the same case in Taiwan back in October 2013. Taiwan Intellectual Property Court had already fully rejected all claims against Atotech. Similarly, the Chinese Patent Office also declared the competitor’s patent appeal invalid and unenforceable.
Atotech’s Stannatech technology is an industry leading immersion tin process used as surface finish in printed circuit board and IC-substrate applications. It is considered an industry benchmark for Immersion Tin for multiple Pb-free soldering and press-fit technology, and used extensively in the automotive, communications, consumers and industrial electronics sectors. Stannatech®'s success is attributed to its perfect bath stability over a long life time and unique soldering performance for multiple soldering even after prolonged storage.
The patent infringement lawsuit was filed at two courts, in Suzhou and Shanghai. However, based on a number of facts Atotech's competitor recognized the possibility of losing both the cases, thus withdrawing all legal actions. This led to immediate termination of proceedings in both the courts. Shortly thereafter, in October 2014, the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) of China held that the company’s patent was invalid because of a lack of inventive steps. Thereby, prohibiting the competitor from enforcing any action against Atotech or its customers based on this particular patent.
Commenting on the development, Atotech's Patent and Trademark Manager, Joerg Wonnemann said: "During the proceedings, we were confident of our strong non-infringement position, which has now been confirmed. As the industry leader for immersion tin process, we take all matters relating to intellectual property very seriously - both in respect to our responsibilities as well as our rights."
"Stannatech® has a long history of providing consistent plating quality while dramatically reducing chemical waste. This verdict only further asserts our focus on quality and innovation," added Gustavo Ramos, Global Business Manager for Atotech's Final Finishing unit.
*Please note that the company's name cannot be disclosed due to privacy concerns.
Atotech is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of specialty plating chemicals and equipment for the printed circuit board, IC-substrate and semiconductor industries, as well as for the decorative and functional surface finishing industries. Atotech has annual sales of USD 1.2 Billion and is fully committed to sustainability – we develop technologies to minimize waste and to reduce environmental impact. Atotech is a division of the Total Group, and has its headquarters in Berlin, Germany. The company employs over 4,100 people in more than 40 countries.