By Eric Schweibenz
On September 21, 2009, Chief ALJ Paul J. Luckern issued a notice regarding his Enforcement Initial Determination (“EID”) in Certain R-134a Coolant (Otherwise Known as 1,1,1,2-Tetrafluoroethane) (Inv. No. 337-TA-623).  In the notice, ALJ Luckern determined that the enforcement respondent Sinochem Environmental Protection Chemicals (Taicang) Co., Ltd. (“Sinochem”) did not violate the Consent Order issued by the Commission on September 11, 2008.

By way of background, INEOS Fluor Holdings Ltd., INEOS Fluor Ltd. and INEOS Fluor Americas LLC (collectively, “INEOS”) filed a complaint in December 2007 alleging violations of Section 337 by several respondents including Sinochem in the importation into the U.S., the sale for importation, and the sale within the U.S. after importation of certain R-134a coolant (otherwise known as 1,1,1,2-tetrafluoroethane) by reason of infringement of certain patents, including U.S. Patent No. 5,559,276.  See our April 6 post for more details.  On August 15, 2008, the Sinochem respondents moved for partial termination of the investigation based on the entry of a consent order specific to their “old” process for manufacture of R-134a coolant.  On August 20, 2008, the ALJ issued an initial determination (“ID”) granting the motion and terminating the investigation with respect to the “old” process.  The Commission determined not to review the ALJ’s ID and issued a Consent Order on September 11, 2008.  On December 12, 2008, INEOS filed a complaint, requesting that the Commission institute a formal enforcement proceeding to investigate an alleged violation of the Consent Order relating to the “old” process.  On February 18, 2009, the Commission issued a notice instituting a formal enforcement proceeding.

In the September 21 notice, ALJ Luckern determined that Sinochem “did not violate the Consent Order issued by the Commission on September 11, 2008” and “no enforcement measures are appropriate should the Commission find a violation of said Consent Order.”

The notice issued by ALJ Luckern released only the title page, conclusions of law and the order in connection with the EID.  We will provide additional information once the public version of the EID is issued in its entirety.