Statoil wins patent case

July 22, 2005, 15:30 CEST

The UK Patent Office has ordered the University of Southampton to transfer the patent on seabed logging (SBL) to Statoil.

The patent office handed down its decision yesterday, Thursday 21 July, in a patent entitlement dispute between Statoil ASA and the University of Southampton. The patent office upheld Statoil’s case in its entirety.

It held that the true inventors of the patent in dispute were Statoil employees at the relevant time.

It also held that the University’s personnel should not be named as inventors. The patent office therefore ordered that the patent should belong to Statoil ASA and not to the University of Southampton.

"We are very pleased with the patent office's decision,” said Brit Ragnhildstveit, manager of Statoil's patent department.

“Statoil had brought this case on a point of principle, as we believed that our intellectual property rights had been misappropriated by a commercial partner, and this decision endorses our belief."

Statoil brought the action because the University of Southampton wrongly patented for itself the inventive concept which Statoil had devised prior to the involvement of the University. The dispute arose out of a Statoil research project in which personnel from the University of Southampton took part.

The project, known as SeaBed Logging, exploits differences in resistivity beneath the seabed to identify hydrocarbon-bearing reservoirs with greater accuracy.