Patent and Trademark Office Grants Earth Friendly Chemical's Request for Inter Partes Reexamination of Sears Petroleum Patent

June 1, 2006 – Firm News

Virginia Beach, Va. – Earth Friendly Chemicals Inc. (EFC) is pleased to announce that its request for an inter partes reexamination of a patent held by Sears Petroleum & Transport Corp. (Sears) has been granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

The request for reexamination, submitted to the USPTO on March 14, 2006, relates to patent number 6,299,793, which claims a deicing and anti-icing containing a low molecular weight carbohydrate and a chloride salt. Earth Friendly Chemicals is challenging the validity of the claims of that patent in view of several prior art references. The USPTO granted the request for reexamination on May 5, 2006, and gave Sears two months to submit its response.

“We are delighted that the reexamination procedure provides a way to challenge the validity of issued patents. While all companies should be entitled to patent protection for legitimate inventions, it is important to the entire industry to be able to correct a situation where a patent issues with potentially invalid claims. Earth Friendly Chemicals is committed to seek reexamination of other patents where appropriate,” said Brian Kubalik, Executive Vice President of Earth Friendly Chemicals.

"We are gratified that the USPTO adopted all of the arguments submitted in our request for reexamination,” said James J. Kelly, a partner with Oblon, Spivak, McClelland, Maier & Neustadt, P.C. of Alexandria, VA, who is representing EFC in the reexamination proceeding.

EFC was incorporated in April of 2002, and is the exclusive US and Canadian distributor of the Ice Ban® product lines. Ice Ban® products are environmentally friendly additives for anti-icing and deicing materials made from agricultural by-products. Ice Ban® enhances the melting performance and dramatically reduces the corrosivity of traditional anti-icing and deicing materials such as sodium chloride, magnesium chloride, calcium chloride, and a variety of salt brines.