Electromagnetic Geoservices ASA v Petroleum Geo-Services & Ors, Court of Appeal - Patents Court, April 19, 2016, [2016] EWHC 881 (Pat)

Resolution Date:April 19, 2016
Issuing Organization:Patents Court
Actores:Electromagnetic Geoservices ASA v Petroleum Geo-Services & Ors
 
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Case No: HC-2013-000099

Neutral Citation Number: [2016] EWHC 881 (Pat)

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE

CHANCERY DIVISION

PATENTS COURT

Royal Courts of Justice, Rolls Building

Fetter Lane, London, EC4A 1NL

Date: 19/04/2016

Before :

THE HON. MR JUSTICE BIRSS

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Between :

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Adrian Speck QC and Isabel Jamal (instructed by Bird & Bird) for the Claimant

Richard Meade QC and James Whyte (instructed by Bristows) for the Defendants

Hearing dates: 7th - 10th, 11th, 14th, - 17th, 20th -23rd March 2016

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JudgmentMr Justice Birss :

  1. This case is about EP (UK) 256 019 entitled ``Method for Determining the Nature of Subterranean Reservoirs''. The patent concerns the use of controlled-source electromagnetism, CSEM, in searching for oil reservoirs under the sea. EMGS contended that PGS infringed the patent and that it was valid. PGS denied infringement and contended the patent was invalid.

  2. The patent has been litigated in the English courts before. Schlumberger brought proceedings to revoke the patent. In Schlumberger v EMGS [2009] EWHC 58 (Pat) Mann J held that the patent was invalid but on appeal at [2010] EWCA Civ 819 the Court of Appeal held that it was valid.

  3. The trial took 11 days in the Patents Court. For one patent, that is a lot. The issues involved difficult physics and mathematics. In order to explain and address them, it was going to be necessary to deliver a judgment which delved into Maxwell's equations, 3D vector calculus and imaginary numbers. Before the judgment was completed the parties settled the proceedings. They are to be congratulated for that. It has saved the court and it will save the parties a lot of costs and trouble. Normally there would be no reason to give any sort of judgment at all in these circumstances but this case was unusual in one respect which warrants it.

  4. Before the trial I had the benefit of a teach-in from a neutral scientific adviser, Dr Karen Weitemeyer. Directions for this were addressed in an interim judgment EMGS v PGS [2016] EWHC 27 (Pat), see in particular paragraphs 27-36. Dr Weitemeyer was provided with a set of brief instructions which were settled by the court. They consisted essentially of the two primers (on geology and CSEM) as well as short extracts from the expert's reports which dealt with matters of background. She was not told about the issues. Dr Weitemeyer was...

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