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Supreme Court decision on DyStar patent

Jun '07
After nearly five years of courtroom war between DyStar Textilfarben GmbH & Co. Deutschland KG of Germany on the one side and Bann Quimica Ltd a of Brazil and C.H. Patrick Co. of South Carolina on the other, the United States Supreme Court has finally brought the litigation over DyStar's indigo dyeing patent to an end.

On June 7, 2007, the Supreme Court vindicated Bann Quimica and C.H. Patrick by denying review of the ruling from the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals finding DyStar's U.S. Patent No. 5,586,992 invalid. The injunction in place against sales of Bann Quimica's and C.H. Patrick's indigo solution will be lifted and the smaller, locally-owned Bann Quimica and C.H. Patrick companies will now be able to compete with the larger, multi-national DyStar at U.S. facilities where the indigo solution is used to impart the blue color to denim fabrics.

In 2002, DyStar sued Bann Quimica and C.H. Patrick and obtained a jury verdict for infringement of its patent. On appeal, in a widely-quoted decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit found that the relevant portion of DyStar's patent was invalid based on old patents dating from the early 1900s, including one patent that had been owned by DyStar's predecessor.

DyStar did not let the case die there, but instead asked the Supreme Court to review the Federal Circuit's decision and continued to argue that its patent was valid. Along the way, DyStar requested two major patent law organizations to assist in the appeal to the Supreme Court, but both declined. The high court's ruling means that the appellate court's invalidity decision is the last word on the case and that the relevant portions of DyStar's patent are null and void.

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