LAWFUEL – Press Release Service – The University of Southampton has withdrawn its appeal from last year’s decision of the UK Patent Office which awarded ownership of a UK patent and a number of foreign applications on Sea Bed Logging (SBL) to Statoil ASA (Statoil). Lovells advised Statoil on the case. The decision had been appealed by the University but now the appeal has been withdrawn, the patent and applications will be transferred to Statoil, and then onwards to emgs (The Sea BedLogging Company).
The dispute arose from a Statoil research project in which personnel from the University of Southampton, now at Offshore Hydrocarbon Mapping plc (OHM) took part. The project, SBL, exploits differences in resistivity beneath the seabed to identify hydrocarbon-bearing reservoirs with greater accuracy. This means that promising structures revealed by seismic surveys can be further investigated to identify whether oil or other hydro-carbons are present or not.
Statoil brought the action as it maintained the University had wrongly patented the concept of SBL, and had devised the concept prior to the involvement of the University.
The Patent Office held that the true inventors of the patent were Statoil employees at the relevant time, meaning that the University’s personnel should not be named as inventors. It therefore ordered that the patent should belong to Statoil and not to the University. Statoil’s case was upheld in its entirety.
OHM will now lose the benefit of its licence from the University of Southampton under these patents which are fundamental to how the technology works. Two of emgs’ key personnel will now be recorded as the inventors of the patent, which further adds to emgs’ substantial portfolio in this area.
Statoil, a client of the firm since 1981, has been absolutely clear all along that its employees were the inventors of the invention. This is therefore a tremendous vindication for the stance it has taken throughout the case.