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Battery Makers Welcome US Patent Verdict
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Chinese battery makers said in Beijing on Thursday that they welcomed the verdict given by the United States Court of Appeal for the Federal Circuit, on an appeal brought by Energizer Holdings against the US International Trade Commission (ITC) on battery patents.

The verdict issued by the court on January 25 upheld the ITC's decision to terminate the investigation into the alleged infringement of intellectual property rights by Chinese battery makers, a senior official with China's Fujian Nanping Nanfu Battery Co. Ltd. said.

In April 2003, the US-based Energizer Holdings complained, in the name of its subsidiary Eveready, to the ITC that the zero-mercury-added alkaline batteries exported to the US by 24 manufacturers including those from China had infringed its US patent, and requested the initiation of investigations under Section 337 of the US Tariff Act.

In June 2004, the ITC gave a preliminary ruling that nine manufacturers from the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong infringed the legitimate and valid patent of Energizer, recommending a ban on the import of the batteries in question.

But, in October 2004, the ITC decided that Energizer's patent was invalid because of its indefinite right, and terminated the investigations.

Energizer then appealed to the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, naming the ITC as defendants.

The Chinese official said the victory is a great encouragement to Chinese exporters, who are besieged with trade barriers.

Fujian Nanping Nanfu is one of the largest alkaline battery manufacturers and suppliers in China.

(Xinhua News Agency January 27, 2006)

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