German patent office sides with KMS over Zenon

German patent authorities agreed with Koch Membrane Systems that Zenon claimed major parts of the Puron MBR technology by illegally applying non-allowable extensions during the IP filing history. In addition, Koch Membrane Systems argued successfully via introduction of prior art, that Zenon did not show the uniqueness required to support its IP claims...

AACHEN, Germany, Nov. 11, 2005 -- The German patent office in Munich has determined that Zenon Environmental Inc. inappropriately extended its claims during its intellectual property filings and, as a result, turned down the legal basis for Zenon's lawsuit against Koch Membrane Systems GmbH.

Three utility models -- derived from Zenon's major membrane module patent family, which also includes several U.S. and EP patents -- have been cancelled or significantly restricted, Koch Membrane Systems announced yesterday.

Patent authorities agreed with Koch Membrane Systems that Zenon claimed major parts of the PURON™ MBR technology by illegally applying non-allowable extensions during the IP filing history. In addition, Koch Membrane Systems argued successfully via introduction of prior art, that Zenon did not show the uniqueness required to support its IP claims.

"We are very pleased with this resounding judgment by the patent office," said Dr. Stefan Schaefer, managing director of Koch Membrane Systems GmbH. "This significant victory clarifies our right to offer this exciting new technology. MBRs are rapidly becoming the technology of choice for waste water treatment for a wide range of applications."

The Puron MBR technology represents the next generation of membrane bioreactors and offers numerous advantages including operational benefits and energy savings compared to competing technologies.

Last year, KMS International LLC acquired Puron AG, an Aachen, Germany-based manufacturer of submerged hollow-fiber membrane modules for wastewater treatment. The German company was subsequently renamed Koch Membrane Systems GmbH. KMS International is a subsidiary of Koch Membrane Systems Inc. Koch Membrane Systems Inc. (KMS) has been a global leader in separation and filtration products for over 30 years. A designer and manufacturer of state-of-the-art membrane cartridges and elements, as well as complete membrane systems, KMS has products that treat even the most demanding applications. To enhance membrane performance, KMS offers a line of antiscalants and cleaning chemicals, and provides numerous maintenance and technical service programs. The company has supplied membranes to more than 15,000 systems used around the world, serving the food processing, life sciences, and general manufacturing industries, as well as providing potable water and wastewater treatment technologies for communities of all sizes.

With headquarters in Wilmington, Mass., Koch Membrane Systems (www.kochmembrane.com) is a member of Koch Chemical Technology Group LLC.

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