Victory for MacDermid Alpha, Heraeus, Henkel in Patent Dispute

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Alpha Assembly Solutions, Heraeus, and Henkel have won in the patent infringement lawsuit against Senju Group (Senju Metal Industry Co., Ltd., Senju Metal Europe GmbH, and Senju Manufacturing Europe S.R.O.) as pronounced by the District Court Frankfurt on April 3, 2024. The 1st instance judgment confirmed Senju’s infringement of the patent EP 1 617 968 B1 in Germany by the M794 solder alloy material. 

The legal dispute culminated in a victory for Alpha Assembly Solutions, Heraeus, and Henkel, with the court granting motions for declaration of liability for damages, injunction, and the recall of infringing products, namely Senju’s M794 solder material from its industrial customers in Germany. The ruling, which can be appealed by Senju, reinforces the significance of intellectual property protection in the electronics assembly industry and upholds the commitment of the plaintiffs to defend their innovative materials. 

In response to Senju’s attempts to invalidate the patent-in-suit through a patent nullity suit, the German Federal Patent Court upheld the patent with some amendments, in first instance on August 31, 2023. This decision confirms the validity of the amended form of the patent EP 1 617 968 B1, covering innovative solder alloy formulations. Senju’s appeal to the Federal Court of Justice is pending. 

The patentees sell solder alloy formulation, marketed under the brand names Innolot (MacDermid Alpha Electronics Solutions and Heraeus) and Multicore 90ISC (Harima Chemicals Group, formerly Loctite 90ISC Henkel), representing a breakthrough in lead-free solder technology. Developed through a cooperative project, these materials offer improved reliability performance, particularly in harsh environment electronics applications. They are designed to withstand high temperatures while remaining solderable at standard lead-free process temperatures, making them ideal for automotive applications and other demanding environments.