Sinopec denies violating INEOS chemical patent

HONG KONG, March 21 Fri Mar 21, 2014 2:39am EDT

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HONG KONG, March 21 (Reuters) - China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (Sinopec), Asia's largest oil refiner, has denied violating intellectual property rights of INEOS after the Swiss-based chemicals company opened a case at a Beijing court.

Subsidiary Shanghai Research Institute of Petrochemical Technology is being sued over technology related to the industrial chemical acrylonitrile, state-owned Sinopec said in a statement emailed to Reuters on Friday.

The subsidiary developed what became a core technology "after 50 years of research," the company said.

"Sinopec has full proprietary intellectual property rights over such technology. There is no ground for the infringement alleged by INEOS," Sinopec said.

INEOS was not immediately available for comment.

Shares of Sinopec were 1.4 percent higher at 0554 GMT in Hong Kong compared with a 0.8 percent rise in the benchmark index.

China has long been a flashpoint for disputes over intellectual property rights. Last year, U.S. private researcher Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property said 80 percent of global intellectual property rights abuse occurred in China.

The U.S. and other foreign governments have urged China to take a stronger stand on the matter which affects products ranging from medicine to software to movies.

Sinopec's case, lodged March 17, was reported on Friday by the Financial Times. The newspaper said INEOS was also pursuing the complaint through an arbitration process in Sweden under terms to resolve disputes previously agreed with Sinopec.

Last month, Sinopec Corp unit Sinopec Yangzi Petrochemical Co agreed to form a $500 million 50/50 joint venture with INEOS in China's Nanjing city to make industrial chemicals phenol and cumene. (Reporting by Charlie Zhu; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

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