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Posted: July 9, 2009
Oxonica Loses High Court Appeal Against Neuftec
(Nanowerk News) Neuftec Limited, the proprietor of a new, highly successful technology producing greener diesel (the original nano-particulate cerium oxide fuel catalyst previously sold by Oxonica as Envirox™), announced today that Oxonica has failed in their challenge to a High Court ruling that upheld Neuftec’s license rights in a dispute with Oxonica Energy Limited.
Oxonica Energy is a wholly owned subsidiary of Oxonica PLC, the Aim-listed Oxford University spin-out, chaired by former Dragon’s Den TV star Richard Farleigh. Since 2002 Envirox™ has represented approximately 95% of Oxonica Energy Limited’s sales.
Oxonica had asked the Appeal Court to overturn a High Court ruling last September where Mr. Peter Prescott QC, Deputy Judge at the High Court in London ruled that “…royalties are payable in respect of any product, process or use falling within the scope of any claim of the PCT application as appended to the Licence Deed, and nothing else. Envirox 2 is a Licensed Product as defined, and attracts royalties accordingly.”
The appeal trial was heard before The President Of The Queen’s Bench Division Lord Justice May, The Right Honourable Lord Justice Jacob and The Right Honourable Lady Justice Arden at the Court of Appeal in June 2009 and judgment was issued today.
Ronen Hazarika, co-founder of Neuftec said,
“We are absolutely delighted that the Court of Appeal has upheld the High Court’s decision. The High Court judgment was very carefully reasoned. In consultation with our experienced legal team, we decided that was little chance of Oxonica being successful in appealing the decision.
Neuftec has made every effort to find an amicable solution prior to the original legal proceedings and also to negotiate settlement post judgment last year. We flew to the UK to meet Oxonica Chairman, Mr. Richard Farleigh & Oxonica CEO, Dr. Kevin Matthews to discuss post judgment settlement. In the end we made an offer that was slightly less than Oxonica wanted to pay for settlement of all litigation combined with an undertaking not to commence fresh proceedings against each other. Mr. Farleigh rejected this offer and preferred to commence the Court of Appeal proceedings. I’m sure the costs incurred by both parties since Mr. Farleigh’s decision to dismiss our offer is far in excess of the shortfall we wanted for full & final settlement which I am sure will annoy their shareholders.“
Neuftec will now ensure that a leading firm of forensic accountants complete the audit of Oxonica’s records and to verify various large discrepancies in Oxonica’s account of sales of Envirox™ and ‘Envirox 2’ and to see whether Neuftec is also entitled to a 25% share of Oxonica’s profits from fuel additive sales plus a £1 million milestone payment as defined by the Neuftec license. Neuftec intends to urgently reclaim all sums due, including royalties of approximately £400,000, legal costs together with interest from Oxonica.
Neuftec will make a decision on the filing of fresh claims in the High Court in relation to Oxonica’s on-going sales of ‘Envirox 2’. Neuftec filed a separate patent infringement action against Oxonica in June 2008 relating to sales of Envirox™ that infringe Neuftec’s European patents. Oxonica has previously confirmed that, contrary to its earlier undertakings, it has sold Envirox™ (originally licensed from Neuftec) in Europe, post the termination of the licence agreement.
About Neuftec Limited
Neuftec is a research & development company that owns patents in the fuel catalyst technology sector used in the production of the first version of Envirox™ (2001-2007) that was manufactured by Advanced Nanotechnology of Australia under a manufacturing licence granted by Oxonica with authorisation from Neuftec. On 29 February 2008, IP Australia issued a re-examination report in respect of Neuftec's Australian patent. The patent had been issued in 2006 with 10 claims. In the re-examination report, IP Australia confirmed the patentability of the 10 claims as originally granted in 2006 in re-examination proceedings initiated by Oxonica. Neuftec is also opposing the grant of an Oxonica patent relating to doped cerium oxide fuel additives in Australia. The Neuftec technology is now utilized by Energenics Pte Ltd in its EnercatTM fuel additive.