OHM Welcomes UK High Court's Decision in Schlumberger-EMGS Patent Case

Offshore Hydrocarbon Mapping notes the decision of the UK High Court to revoke three key patents on Controlled Source ElectroMagnetic (CSEM) surveying granted by the European and UK Patent Offices to emgs of Norway. The case was brought by Schlumberger on the grounds that the ideas that the patents sought to protect were already well known and in the public domain.

The revoked patents in question covered ;

  • The general use of CSEM for direct detection of hydrocarbons
  • The direct detection of hydrocarbons by CSEM using certain 3-D geometries
  • Combining CSEM and seismic for direct detection of hydrocarbons

OHM has stated for several years that the above patents were invalid and unenforceable, especially given the long history of published prior academic research including notable works by Dr. Lucy MacGregor, one of the founders of OHM. The decision of the UK Court confirms that OHM can continue to operate within UK patent jurisdictions.

This is the first time the validity of these patents has been ruled on by a court. This decision by the respected UK court will serve as useful guidance in other jurisdictions.

Lucy MacGregor, OHM's Chief Scientific Officer, said, "We welcome legal clarification in line with our view of the situation. CSEM is a very valuable tool for oil and gas exploration. Too much time, effort and focus has been placed on dealing with emgs's now discredited patent claims rather than promoting the value of this technology to the industry. This decision will hopefully allow us all to get on with our mission of helping our clients improve their exploration success, without uncertainty, interference or threat of legal action from these claims."