China challenges Japan over neodymium iron boron magnet patents

July 16, 2014

A group of seven Chinese neodymium iron boron magnet producers have joined together in an attempt to end the patent monopoly held by Japanese companies in the rare-earth magnet sector, reports China Daily.

The alliance, led by Shenyang General Magnetic Co Ltd, is reported to challenge Japanese companies such as Hitachi Metals Ltd, which had the intellectual property patent rights for neodymium iron boron.

Because of the patent issues, Chinese companies have found it difficult to export neodymium iron boron magnet related products to countries such as the United States, claims the report. Currently, many potential users still hold the perception that purchasing Chinese products will infringe on the patent rights of Japanese companies.

“We’ve been evaluated and assessed by legal firms in the United States for a year, and they have certified that our products do not violate intellectual property rights and can be sold in the US,” stated Sun Baoyu, Chairman of the board of Shenyang General Magnetic Co Ltd.

The companies have reportedly set aside $15 million for legal expenses that may arise due to lawsuits that may be filed by the Japanese companies.

Sun added that going forward China will account for most of the neodymium iron boron magnet manufacturing in the world. He said domestic consumption of neodymium iron boron magnets has reached between 70,000 and 80,000 metric tons each year, far more than the 20,000 metric tons consumed overseas.


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