(Adds INEOS comment, detail)
HONG KONG/LONDON, March 21 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
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.
Acrylonitrile is a building block for carbon fibre used in
products in the automotive, aerospace and defence industries.
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 said a Sinopec subsidiary Sinopec Ningbo Engineering
Company had broken a long established technology agreement
which, together with trade secret misuse by other Sinopec
companies, had enabled development of a series of new world
scale Acrylontirile plants without the consent or agreement of
"We have good and valuable relationships with Sinopec and
other Chinese companies across our business," said Jim
Ratcliffe, INEOS Chairman in a statement.
"But in this case, we have to take action to protect the
interests of our stakeholders."
Shares of Sinopec closed 2.2 percent higher in Hong Kong
compared with a 2.4 percent rise in the benchmark index.
INEOS said it is pursuing parallel actions in the Beijing
High Court and through arbitration in Sweden.
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
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.
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
(Reporting by Charlie Zhu in Hong Kong and Simon Falush in
London; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Elaine Hardcastle)