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Star Envirotech wins leak detection patent appeal from Redline Detection

Star EnviroTech has won the final US “nitrogen smoke” leak detection patent challenge by Redline Detection in the US Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.

In a precedential 33-page opinion, the Court fully upheld Star's patent, used by every major automaker (OEM).

Previously, STAR prevailed against three other Redline Detection challenges for the ownership of the nitrogen smoke technologies for safer vehicle fuel evaporative emission (EVAP) testing.

The earlier cases include two patent re-examination proceedings and an Inter Partes proceeding before a three-judge panel of the US Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).

Redline Detection previously also filed two failed challenges of Star’s dye patents.

Twenty other STAR patents were unchallenged by Redline Detection.

“We’ve worked hard to secure our US and international patents. We invented this technology and we have an ethical obligation to our distribution partners to guard those patents,” said STAR EnviroTech’s CEO Jim Saffie.

“They’ve made an investment in us and our technologies. We will protect those investments.”

Star EnviroTech, the inventor of diagnostic smoke leak detection technologies, worked in collaboration with various partners including Ford, GM, and Chrysler, through the OEMs’ USCAR organisation, to develop a universally-accepted EVAP and vacuum system leak detection technology.

Star’s nitrogen smoke patent (6,526,808) uses an exclusive method of producing smoke with any inert gas to virtually eliminate the risk of a vehicle fuel tank fire or explosion during an EVAP test.

Papers published by SAE International and other data support this method as safer than testing with shop air in a fuel tank.

Adding air containing oxygen to a volatile environment such as a fuel tank can create a flammable mixture inside the fuel tank, but nitrogen smoke eliminates the risk of fire during the testing process.

Star’s smoke dye patents use a unique, non-contaminating, non-permanent UV dye to mark the spot of the leaks, making even hidden leaks easy to find.