A dispute between a new Chinese rare earth company industrial alliance and Japan’s Hitachi Metals over extension of Nd-Fe-B magnets could impact U.S. and Chinese manufacturing.
RENO (MINEWEB) – China’s desire to promote the development of a domestic rare earth permanent magnet industry is running head-on into Japan’s Hitachi Metals, Ltd. which is trying to protect over 600 sintered rare earth magnet patents globally, including over 100 patents in the U.S., 300 in China and 600 in Japan.
The dispute could impact up to half of the world’s rare earths production. The neodymium- iron-boron alloy magnet is used in motors, audio speakers, headphone, cordless tools, computer hard drives and even golf ball markers.
A year ago, Hitachi Metals, Ltd. and Hitachi Metals North Carolina, Ltd. asked the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to stop the sales of such products and their downstream products that did not have a U.S. patent license. Four Chinese companies entered into settlement agreements with Hitachi in May by paying money to gain the patent license. Continue Reading →