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Unocal to Seek More Damages in Patent Suit

August 17, 2000|Bloomberg News

Unocal Corp. said it isn't trying to negotiate the settlement of a dispute with five of the world's largest oil refiners over a patent that could add more than 5 cents a gallon to gasoline prices in California. Unocal won a $91-million settlement against the five for their infringing on a patent for a gasoline formula that refiners must use in California. Unocal was awarded 5.75 cents for each gallon produced, over five months in California in 1996, that violated its patent. It plans to seek additional damages from the defendants for gasoline manufactured after that period. Exxon Mobil Corp., backed by the Royal Dutch/Shell Group, BP Amoco PLC, Chevron Corp. and Texaco Inc., asked the U.S. Supreme Court this week to review the lower court's decision. The companies argue that Unocal used information from public forums on cleaner-burning gasoline to develop a formula that it later claimed as its own. "It's an outrageous expansion of the patent law," said Edward Murphy of the American Petroleum Institute, a trade group that speaks for most U.S. oil companies. Unocal is not a member. El Segundo-based Unocal will continue its court fight and expects to prevail, spokesman Barry Lane said.

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