Commitments and Contingencies
|9 Months Ended
Sep. 30, 2023
|COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES
|Commitments and Contingencies
Note 9 - Commitments and Contingencies
Fixed Price Contract
The Company’s multi-year contracts with its commercial customers contain fixed prices for product. These contracts expire between 2023 and 2025 and expose the Company to the potential risks associated with rising material costs during that same period.
On July 17, 2019, the Company initiated patent litigation against certain defendants in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware for infringement of certain United States patents owned by the Company. These patents relate to the Company’s two-part Sorbent Enhancement Additive (SEA®) process for mercury removal from coal-fired power plants. Named as defendants in the lawsuit are (i) Vistra Energy Corp., AEP Generation Resources Inc., NRG Energy, Inc., Talen Energy Corporation, and certain of their respective affiliated entities, all of which are owners and/or operators of coal-fired power plants in the United States, and (ii) Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., DTE REF Holdings, LLC, CERT Coal Holdings LLC, Chem-Mod LLC, and certain of their respective affiliated entities, and additional named and unnamed defendants, all of which operate or are involved in operations of coal facilities in the United States. In the lawsuit, the Company alleges that each of the defendants has willfully infringed certain of the Company’s patents and seeks unspecified damages, attorneys’ fees, costs and injunctive relief.
During 2020, each of the four major utility defendants in the above action filed petitions for Inter Partes Review with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, seeking to invalidate certain claims to the patents which are subject to the litigation.
Between July 2020 and January 2021, we entered into agreements with each of the four major utility defendants in such action which included certain monetary arrangements and pursuant to which we have dismissed all claims brought against each of them and their affiliates, and such parties have withdrawn from petitions for Inter Partes Review with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Such agreements entered into with such parties provide each of them and their affiliates with a non-exclusive license to certain Company patents (related to the Company’s two-part Sorbent Enhancement Additive (SEA®) process) for use in connection with such parties’ coal-fired power plants.
The above-described proceedings are continuing with respect to the other parties involved. On May 20, 2021, a U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge issued a report and recommendation that the above action should be permitted to proceed against 16 refined coal defendants named in the action directly involved in the refined coal program and operations, and be dismissed against 12 other defendants, primarily affiliated entities of the refined coal operators. Such report was issued in connection with certain motions to dismiss filed by the refined coal defendants. In September 2021, the Company received approval from the District Judge of the U.S. District Court in Delaware of the adoption of this report and recommendation of the Magistrate Judge to allow the Company to proceed with litigation claims against certain refined coal entities.
As a result of an application made by the Company to the Court in March 2022 to add additional parties to the action (all affiliated entities of the already named defendants), there are now 24 refined coal defendants named in the action. In connection with such application, the District Court Magistrate Judge ruled in April 2022 that certain parties could be added but denied the application with respect to certain others. The fact discovery portion of the litigation has concluded. A jury trial date has been scheduled for November 2023.
Except for the foregoing disclosures, the Company is not presently aware of any other material pending legal proceedings to which the Company is a party or of which any of its property is the subject.
Litigation, including patent litigation, is inherently subject to uncertainties. As such, there can be no assurance that the Company will be successful in litigating and/or settling any of these claims.