A King & Spalding trial team on Sept. 15, 2021 persuaded a Delaware federal court jury to find in favor of our client BASF in its antitrust trial against Ingevity Corp. The jury determined that Ingevity committed antitrust violations—including tying and entering into exclusive supply agreements with customers, and tortious interference with a business relationship—and granted an effective $84.9 million award. BASF will also seek attorneys’ fees, costs, and interest.
Ingevity started the dispute with a 2018 patent infringement complaint against BASF. Ingevity alleged that BASF’s EvapTrap XC honeycombs for bleed emissions control infringed Ingevity U.S. Patent No. RE38,844. During discovery, BASF uncovered evidence of substantial misconduct and filed counterclaims against Ingevity. Then in November 2020 King & Spalding obtained summary judgment invalidating all of Ingevity’s asserted patent claims. With that BASF became the plaintiff in the suit just tried.
BASF is one of the largest producers and marketers of chemicals and related products in North America and an important supplier to the automotive industry. Ingevity obtained a patent on a method regarding automotive emission technologies, which it claimed covered adding a honeycomb of activated carbon to a fuel vapor canister to meet current environmental emissions standards. The honeycombs can be used in new automobiles to meet regulatory emissions requirements. Ingevity currently supplies 100 percent of the activated carbon honeycombs for the automotive industry in North America. BASF used its expertise to develop a much better-performing carbon honeycomb to compete with Ingevity