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Velocys wins UK patent case against CompactGTL on smaller scale GTL technology

Velocys plc (VLS.L) announced that the UK High Court has ruled in its favor in the patent infringement case it brought against CompactGTL Ltd. The case, filed by Velocys in March 2013, concerns infringement by CompactGTL in relation to its smaller scale Fischer-Tropsch (FT) technology.

The judgment upheld the validity of the two patents in suit (known as 508 and 509), and found CompactGTL to be infringing both patents—six separate patent claims in total—based on CompactGTL’s sworn statements to the court concerning their technology and its intended use.

(A copy of the judgement can be obtained from the Courts Recording and Transcription Unit of the Royal Courts of Justice.)

Velocys has a substantial patent portfolio comprising more than 900 patents, covering a broad range of countries, which protects key inventions relevant to smaller scale GTL. The company also holds a significant inventory of trade-secrets which it has gained through years of development and practice. Moreover, Velocys actively ensures it maintains strict freedom to operate for its own business.

Equivalents of the two patents in this case have also been approved in numerous other jurisdictions around the world, including places where smaller scale GTL might be deployed, such as the United States and Canada, and countries where FT reactors and other associated equipment might be manufactured, such as Japan and South Korea.

A judgement hearing has been set for 2 October to deal with issues arising out of this decision, including relief from infringement, damages to Velocys, and reimbursement of Velocys' legal costs.

In the US, Velocys’ customer Red Rock Biofuels, was just awarded a $70-million grant to construct a biomass-to-liquids (BTL) plant incorporating Velocys Fischer-Tropsch (FT) technology to produce mil-spec fuels. (Earlier post.)

This new BTL plant in Oregon will convert some 170,000 tons per year of forestry and sawmill waste into approximately 1,100 barrels per day of ultra clean transportation fuels.

The $70-million grant is being awarded under phase 2 of the US Defense Production Act Title III Advanced Drop-in Biofuels project. In July 2013, Red Rock Biofuels was awarded $4.1 million under phase 1 of the same programme to conduct detailed engineering for the BTL facility, which is now complete.

Velocys technology is also the basis for the construction of a commercial small scale GTL plant at Waste Management’s East Oak landfill site in Oklahoma.

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