ROSEAU, Commonwealth of Dominica, Sept. 5 /CNW/ - Neuftec Limited, the
proprietor of a new, highly successful technology producing greener fuel (the
original nano-particulate cerium oxide fuel catalyst previously sold by
Oxonica as Envirox(TM)), announced today that the High Court successfully
upheld Neuftec's license rights in the face of a claim brought by 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(TM) has represented approximately
95% of Oxonica PLC's sales.
In October 2006, Oxonica informed Neuftec it had produced an
'alternative' to the patented Envirox(TM) formulation which would not be
eligible for continued royalty payments. Following Oxonica's failure to pay
these royalty payments, Neuftec terminated Oxonica's production and
distribution rights and sought alternative means to market this highly
successful product. Oxonica commenced legal proceedings against Neuftec in
February 2007 in the High Court, originally seeking declarations that Neuftec
be prevented from competing with Oxonica and additionally that sales of
'Envirox 2' were not caught by the terms of the Neuftec licence and therefore
should not trigger royalty payments by Oxonica.
Neuftec defended both assertions and counterclaimed for payment of
royalties due from Oxonica's sales of its alternative 'Envirox 2' formulation.
Neuftec also sought an audit of Oxonica's records relating to all Envirox
sales and payment of sums due. Oxonica subsequently dropped its challenge to
Neuftec's right to compete with Oxonica in the market place, but the dispute
over the patent rights and earlier royalty payments continued.
The trial was heard before Mr. Peter Prescott QC, Deputy Judge at the
High Court in London in June 2008 and judgment was issued today. In a 40 page
judgment, the judge 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 claim
fails and the counterclaim succeeds...".
Ronen Hazarika, co-founder of Neuftec said,
"We are absolutely delighted that the court has found in our favour. It
has been an expensive and time-consuming battle but we now feel wholly
When Oxonica's actions in trying to avoid paying substantial royalty
payments first came to light, we took the decision to fight this on a matter
of principle and ethics. If inventors of new and groundbreaking technology
cannot rely on their licencees and the licencees' business angels to honour
agreements, innovation is at risk. The emergence of new technologies would
solely be in the hands of large corporations. Protecting intellectual property
rights is crucial to the encouragement of advances in technology.
It is of some regret that at no time since the commencement of
proceedings did Oxonica make any attempt to settle this matter out of court
despite Neuftec being open and willing to such discussions. I imagine
Oxonica's management will be answerable to its shareholders over this whole
Neuftec estimates that royalties owed amount to approximately GBP500,000
plus legal and associated costs of around GBP1.3 million. Neuftec has
instructed a leading firm of forensic accountants to complete the audit of
Oxonica's records and to verify whether Neuftec is also entitled to a 25%
share of Oxonica's profits from Envirox(TM) and 'Envirox 2' plus a GBP1
million milestone payment as defined by the Neuftec license. Neuftec intends
to reclaim all sums due, together with interest from Oxonica.
Neuftec is also now evaluating the prospect of filing 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(TM) that infringe Neuftec's European patents.
Oxonica has recently confirmed that, contrary to its earlier undertakings, it
has sold Envirox(TM) (originally licensed from Neuftec) in Europe, post the
termination of the licence agreement.
NOTES TO EDITORS
Neuftec is represented by Watson, Farley & Williams LLP & Mr. Richard
Hacon of 11 South Square, Mr. Mark Platts-Mills QC & Mr. James Abraham of
8 New Square, London.
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(TM) (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 Enercat(TM)
For further information:
For further information: Ronen Hazarika, Neuftec Limited, Tel.
+65-9633-8072, email@example.com; Melanie Riley, Bell Yard Communications,
Tel: +44-20-7936-2021, Melanie@bell-yard.com, Mob: +44-7775-591244