Litex Inc. of Sherman Oaks, CA, which claims rights to vital patents on so-called non-thermal plasma (NTP) exhaust cataysts, has sued Delphi Automotive Systems, with which Litex has been in development discussions for several years.

Litex's Corona Discharge Device (see photo) is used ahead of the catalytic converter to generate plasma “changing the chemical properties of exhaust gases and enhancing the catalytic converter's reduction of pollutants that exit the tailpipe,” says Litex in its description of an NTP system.

Litex says its NTP patent portfolio provides substantial reductions of tailpipe pollutants, including hydrocarbons, particulates, carbon monoxide and oxides of nitrogen, with catalytic converter immunity to poisoning from fuel sulfur and other contaminants.

The key patent was issued on Jan. 22, 2000, to Lockheed Martin Corp., for which Litex says it is the exclusive licensee.

Litex says it is engaged in discussions and negotiations for licensing its NTP catalysis technology and intellectual property to global automakers and suppliers and is committed to enforcing its intellectual property in all applications.

Litex seeks an end to alleged Delphi infringement of the key patent, triple damages as provided by law and all costs and destruction of all related devices that infringe the patent.