Status of Legal Challenges: Patents Related to the use of HFO1234YF in Auto Air Conditioning

Status of Legal Challenges:
Patents Related to the use of HFO1234YF
in Auto Air Conditioning

July 2016

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One of the key challenges identified by Parties to the Montreal Protocol as part of the Dubai Pathway on Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) relates to concerns raised about intellectual property rights. Because a large number of patents on low global warming potential (GWP) chemical substitutes for HFCs have been filed by a few transnational companies, a number of developing countries (Article 5 Parties) have raised concerns that these could impede their ability to meet HFC reduction goals, significantly increase the costs of doing so, or put their industries at a competitive disadvantage. This paper seeks to address what has been described as the primary concern related to patents—even if chemical companies in Article 5 Parties can develop their own methods of producing HFOs, they would be prevented (absent a license) from selling their products at home and in key markets abroad in countries where application patents have been granted to other companies until the time when these patents expire.