In defense of its patent rights, ArcelorMittal filed complaints before the District Court of Delaware on April 16 to demonstrate that AK Steel, Severstal North America (SNA) and SNA’s coating partner, Wheeling-Nisshin, have infringed upon its Usibor® aluminum silicon coated products patent (Usibor®-AS) by selling steel grades protected under the Usibor®-AS patent to automakers and their supply chains.
The decision follows the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s reissuance of patent RE44,153 on April 16, 2013, covering the domestic production of Usibor®-AS as a hot rolled or cold rolled steel with a Ultimate Tensile Strength of 1000MPa or higher after hot forming. The patent does not expire until July 9, 2019.
In addition to patent protection in the United States, counterpart Usibor®-AS patents in Canada, many European countries, Brazil and Japan cover the production, import and/or sale of steel, steel parts and vehicles containing the Usibor®-AS technology. Additionally, the importation into the United States of steel, steel parts or vehicles containing the infringing steel may also be subject to legal action.
If the court rules in ArcelorMittal’s favor, AK and SNA will be held liable for damages in the case, and the company will seek an entry of injunction, prohibiting AK and SNA from further sale of infringing steel. Infringement of ArcelorMittal’s Usibor®-AS patent by other steelmakers places the entire supply chain at significant risk for financial and reputational consequences.
Usibor®-AS, an aluminum pre-coated hot rolled or cold rolled steel, is an important product in ArcelorMittal’s portfolio of automotive steel solutions. Usibor®-AS, often used in anti-intrusion and safety cage components, contributes to a significant weight savings for the final part, compared to standard high yield strength steel. Supplied in the United States by ArcelorMittal’s Indiana steelmaking facilities, Usibor®-AS allows automakers to significantly reduce the weight of a vehicle, thereby increasing fuel efficiency. Usibor®-AS also allows automakers to replace aluminum and carbon fiber in vehicles since the thinner yet higher strength material reduces a vehicle’s weight at a much lower cost.