Published on 19 - December - 2011
THE European Commission has opened antitrust proceedings concerning agreements between Honeywell and DuPont for the development of the new HFO-1234yf refrigerants.
The investigation will consider if both companies acted together to restrict competition when launching the new low GWP refrigerant. The inquiry will also look into whether Honeywell may hold and abuse a dominant position over the refrigerant that has been announced as a suitable replacement for R134a in car air conditioning systems.
As part of the investigation the Commission is considering complaints alleging that Honeywell and DuPont entered into anti-competitive arrangements as regards the development of the new generation of refrigerants.
Specifically, the Commission will investigate whether joint development, licensing and production arrangements entered into between the two companies in relation to these refrigerants restrict competition on the markets. Such behaviour, it says, may infringe Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU) and Article 53 of the EEA Agreement.
The Commission is also examining whether Honeywell engaged in deceptive conduct during the evaluation of 1234yf between 2007 and 2009. It is claimed that Honeywell did not disclose its patents and patent applications while the refrigerant was being assessed and then failed to grant licences on fair and reasonable (so called "FRAND") terms. Such behaviour may also infringe European competition rules (Article 102 of the TFEU and Article 54 of the EEA Agreement).