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Merck files pigment patent suit against two Korean companies

Merck Patent GmbH, the intellectual property arm of the chemicals and pharmaceutical group, said Thursday it has filed a lawsuit in Korea against CQV Co. and Sungmin Chemicals, claiming the two local firms infringed upon its patents for pigment technology.

The Darmstadt, Germany-based company had attempted to resolve the patent issue with CQV after claiming that the Korean firm’s pearl luster pigments used to create unique gold color effects for cosmetics copied its products. Sungmin distributes CQV’s supplies.

“We were forced to file this case because Merck’s intellectual property is being knowingly and unfairly exploited,” said Peter Halas, head of Merck’s pigments and cosmetics business unit.

“Respect for intellectual property is fundamental for innovation-driven businesses such as effect pigments, and Merck is committed to protecting and forcing its property rights.”

The litigation comes amid an increasingly fierce war over patents among technology, chemicals and pharmaceutical firms across the world as they strive to defend their slice of the global market.

Merck said it holds about 24,000 patents and patent applications with 7.500 for technologies ranging from liquid crystal displays to pigments for beauty products, food coatings and pharmaceuticals.

Based in Jincheon, North Chungcheong Province, CQV manufactures electronic materials such as lighting sources and pigments including pearl powder for industrial, cosmetics and automotive uses.

By Shin Hyon-hee (heeshin@heraldcorp.com)
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