MARQUETTE - A California man has sued the Lundin Mining Corp. in U.S. District Court for alleged patent infringement related to the Eagle Mine's use of technology in the mine's water treatment plant.
Debasish Mukhopadhyay of Palo Alto, Calif., claims his U.S. "Hero" patented method for high efficiency reverse osmosis operation was infringed upon by Veolia Water Solutions and Technologies North America in its Opus technology.
In October 2011, then mine owner Kennecott Eagle Minerals Co. - wholly owned by Rio Tinto - awarded Veolia a contract for an Opus wastewater treatment plant at the Eagle Mine.
The water treatment plant at the Eagle Mine is shown in 2013. The Lundin Mining Corp. is being sued in federal court in an alleged patent infringement case for use of reverse osmosis technology in the plant. (Photo courtesy of Eagle Eye Photography)
"On information and belief, defendant's infringement has been willful," attorney Frank Frisenda Jr. said in the complaint against Lundin. "Defendant was advised of the existence of Mukhopadhyay's patent rights at least by the filing of this complaint and continues using the Opus process and related equipment specially designed for performing the accused Opus process."
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court in California's Northern District in San Francisco.
Lundin spokesman Dan Blondeau said the mining company is aware of the lawsuit.
"We believe the claims against Lundin lack merit and we intend to defend the case vigorously," Blondeau said.
Mukhopadhyay wants a jury trial on the issue. He wants the court to find Lundin has infringed on his patent and enter a permanent injunction restraining Lundin from contributing to, or inducing, the alleged infringement; find that Lundin's alleged infringement was deliberate and willful; award damages for infringement; treble damages awarded and prejudgment interest be awarded; and award plaintiff reasonable attorney's fees, interest and costs.
According to court records, an answer to a summons served to Lundin on March 11 is due April 1. The plaintiff and the defendant are also scheduled to consent or decline moving forward in the case before a magistrate judge by April 1.
Mukhopadhyay is a "well-recognized inventor of unique industrial water purification technologies for the electricity generation, chemical, petrochemical, pharmaceutical, microelectronics and other industries," the complaint stated.
During the past 15 years, as the owner of the Hero patents, Mukhopadhyay has licensed his water purification technologies to industry leaders, including General Electric, Intel and Aquatech.
John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206.