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Business

Ethox triumphs over Coke again

by Marc S. Reisch
October 16, 2017 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 95, ISSUE 41

The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office has finally listed Ethox chemist James Tanner among the inventors of a patented gas barrier molecule, bis(2-phenoxyethyl)terephthalate, after a five-year fight between Ethox and Coca-Cola. Greenville, S.C.-based Ethox accused Coca-Cola of deliberately leaving Tanner off the polyester bottle additive application. A federal district court backed Ethox’s claim, and after Coke’s appeal, so did the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Chuck Hinton, Ethox’s president, says his firm spent $4 million to defend its claim. “Someone has to teach Goliath a lesson,” he says. Coke is free to do what it wants with the technology and “so are we,” he adds.

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