According to a judgment handed down by Mr Justice Arnold in the UK Patents High Court today, a team of IP lawyers from Bird & Bird have been successful in advising Velocys plc, a small technology company in the energy sector, in a major patent infringement case against key competitor, CompactGTL Ltd. Velocys provides small scale gas-to-liquids ("GTL") technology, which involves the conversion of natural gas to petroleum. A key feature of Velocys' inventions relates to the use of cost-effective small scale reactors which employ highly active catalysts for the conversion of valuable hydrocarbon products.
The litigation was commenced by CompactGTL in 2010 in which CompactGTL sought to revoke two of Velocys' patents relating to catalysts for use in the Fischer-Tropsch ("FT") process, which is used in the second stage of the GTL conversion of hydrocarbons, namely the conversion of carbon monoxide and hydrogen to longer chain hydrocarbons. Subsequently, Velocys alleged that CompactGTL had infringed their patents. The Judge held that Velocys' patents were valid and infringed by CompactGTL's catalyst and reactor process.
Bird & Bird have helped Velocys to enforce and maintain the protection for its key technology that makes it a leader in this important new area of the GTL market. Laura Silva, Director of IP, Legal and Licensing said "Velocys is delighted by today's judgment in its favour against CompactGTL. This ruling provides important guidance to the industry as the market for smaller scale GTL begins taking off."
Velocys was advised by lead partner Morag Macdonald and associates Henry Elliot and Zoe Grant.