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Court Denies Rivals' Appeal, Says Unocal

May 19, 2000|Reuters

Unocal Corp., which was awarded $95 million after rival oil companies infringed a gasoline patent in California, said a U.S. Circuit Court in Washington refused to rehear an appeal of the case. A federal appeals court in March upheld Unocal's patent, which covered the El Segundo-based company's production of cleaner-burning reformulated gasoline. A jury found in 1997 that Exxon Corp., Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp., Texaco Inc., Arco and Shell Oil Co. all had infringed. Unocal was awarded damages of 5.75 cents for each gallon the defendants produced in California that violated the patent during a five-month period in 1996, or about $69 million. Interest and attorney fees boosted the award to about $95 million, Unocal said. The award is separate from any licensing fees that Unocal negotiates for its patent. California Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer opposed Unocal's patent and had supported the appeal, saying it will increase gas prices in the state by about 5 cents a gallon. Unocal has been in talks with several potential licensees and wouldn't release names of the refiners or the terms it's seeking. Unocal shares fell 6 cents to close at $37.44 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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