The ruling, made on November 25, is final with no further opportunity of appeal for FlowSys and means that FlowSys will be refrained from producing, selling or marketing its TopFlow and Wellsense (SubFlow) multiphase flow meters for a period of three years. The ruling states that "The Appeal Committee of the Supreme Court has unanimously decided that the appeal should not be accepted into the Supreme Court."
The ruling was in response to an appeal from FlowSys to the Supreme Court on an August 2005 ruling from the Norwegian Court of Appeal ('Gulating Lagmannsrett') in Bergen which ruled against FlowSys and the technologies behind its TopFlow and Wellsense (SubFlow) multiphase meters.
The August 2005 Court of Appeal decision ordered FlowSys, which was founded by former employees of Roxar in 1999, to refrain from producing, selling or marketing its multiphase flow meters for a period of three years and concluded that that it had "every reason to question whether the persons involved have acted as cautiously as they should have in relation to a former employer". Roxar was also awarded US$1.25 million (8 million NOK) in damages and US$310,000 (2 million NOK) in court costs.
Gunnar Hviding, Managing Director, Roxar Flow Measurement, commented on today's ruling: "Today's ruling sends a clear message – while innovation and competition is to be encouraged, it is essential that this takes places on a level playing field where intellectual property, confidentiality agreements and the many years of research & development which goes into developing oil and gas instrumentation projects are respected. Without this protection, it would be impossible to attract future investments into technology companies."
His words were backed up by Roxar CEO, Sandy Esslemont, who continued:
Roxar's multiphase flow meters make well testing operations quicker and more efficient as well as providing valuable new information for the diagnosis and optimization of a well's production performance. Its meters are designed to continuously measure the flow rates of oil, water and gas in the well stream without the need for separation. The information is then used to determine the optimal production capacity of each well over the lifetime of the field, thereby avoiding the risk of overproducing the well, while at the same time, accelerating production and increasing recovery.
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