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Won patent case on seabed logging

May 31, 2006, 14:50 CEST

The case that Statoil brought against the University of Southampton on a seabed logging patent has now been settled.

The case was heard by the UK Patent Office in February 2005 and its decision was handed down in July. Statoil's case was upheld in its entirety by the patent office. An appeal was entered by the University of Southampton and it was scheduled to be heard at the High Court in London between 22 and 26 May.

However, shortly before the case was to be heard, the University of Southampton dropped its appeal. The decision from July 2005 stands and Statoil will get its legal costs of GBP 165,000 covered.

When Statoil was verifying the seabed logging technology between 2000 and 2002, the University of Southampton was contacted as a collaboration partner. After the cooperation ended, Statoil discovered that the university had patented the technology that had been developed by Statoil and verified.

"We are very pleased with the outcome of this case," says 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."

The seabed logging project exploits differences in resistivity beneath the seabed to identify hydrocarbon-bearing reservoirs with greater accuracy.