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Outokumpu, Outotec in patent dispute

Keywords: Tags  Outokumpu, Outotec, patent, Kari Knuutila, Kimmo Karihtala, ferrochrome, Daniel Fitzgerald

NEW YORK — Outokumpu Oyj and Outotec Oyj are involved in a legal dispute over invention rights related to a ferrochrome production method after Outokumpu filed patent applications for the technology.

Outotec, an Espoo, Finland-based global mining equipment and services group, has requested that the district court in Helsinki, Finland, confirm its rights to the method, claiming that all rights to the invention belong to Outotec, according to its application for summons to the court.

Stainless steel producer Outokumpu, also based in Espoo, said Outotec’s claims are “completely without merit” and that Outokumpu “made the invention.”

“These claims against Outokumpu are unfounded. If pursued, Outokumpu will vigorously defend its rights,” Kimmo Karihtala, Outokumpu’s head of corporate affairs and compliance, said in a statement.

Outotec noted that the two companies have collaborated on various technologies since Outotec separated from Outokumpu, its former parent company, in 2006.

“We have operated in a well-established and confidential business relationship with Outokumpu. The invention in dispute has been developed by Outotec at our Pori research center in Finland, and in our opinion the rights to this invention and the related patents belong to us,” Outotec chief technology officer Kari Knuutila said. “Through this invention, significant savings can be achieved in the production costs of stainless steel, and therefore the method is important for Outotec in terms of future sales.”

Outotec is also demanding compensation for damages from Outokumpu in the event that its main claim to the invention is rejected.

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