TENCEL + PRODUCTION (1982-1998)
Patrick White’s R&D team at Courtaulds was the first to fully commercialize lyocell in 1982 and reach production capacity in 1992. Courtaulds is also credited with pioneer the famous trademark name Tencel in 1990. Courtaulds developed two production plants for the fiber, one in Grimsby, England and the other in Mobile, Alabama.
Around this time, the Austrian company Lenzing starts to patent lyocell technology and production processes similar to Courtlauds. The two companies proceed into lengthy court battles of around 690 patents. It would cost both sides tremendously with one estimate of around 5-10 million pounds (in mostly legal fees) for Courtaulds. The entire court battle is a little confusing but in the end, both companies reached an agreement to share the patent rights royalty free. Lastly, in 1998, Courtaulds was acquired by Akzo Nobel in a move for dominance of the paint and coating sector. It received Tencel in the process.