Monday, February 8, 2021

Agilent wins IP case against Chinese firm

From this week's Chemical and Engineering News, this article from Craig Bettenhausen: 

The instrument maker Agilent Technologies has won a $1.25 million patent infringement judgment against J&X Technologies, a gas chromatography firm started in China by former Agilent employees. J&X did not defend itself in court or respond in any way.

J&X was formed by four former Agilent gas chromatography (GC) researchers in Shanghai who worked for years to develop a better way to pass samples between two different separation columns in what’s known as 2-D GC, even securing a patent for Agilent on the technology in 2012. But Agilent didn’t bring the technique to market, going instead with a competing approach. In early 2015, the researchers left and formed J&X to commercialize their work.

Later that year, the researchers approached Agilent about licensing the patent, but the company declined. So J&X went ahead and commercialized a device anyway, Agilent claims in court documents, using information in the patent and copies of lab notebooks and technical drawings the researchers had copied or taken before quitting.

 I imagine that enforcing the patent cost close to a million bucks, so I imagine this was a "principle of the thing" decision by Agilent. Will be interesting to see how this plays out...

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