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), 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 has represented approximately 95% of Oxonica PLC's sales.
In October 2006, Oxonica informed Neuftec it had produced an
'alternative' to the patented Envirox 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
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
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 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
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 that infringe Neuftec's European
patents. Oxonica has recently confirmed that, contrary to its earlier
undertakings, it has sold Envirox (originally licensed from Neuftec) in
Europe, post the termination of the licence agreement.