Supreme Court dismisses appeal in long-running oilpatch technology fight

CALGARY — A long-running court battle over who owns a well-completion technology that helped usher in the shale oil and gas boom in North America has ended.

The Supreme Court of Canada says it will not hear an appeal by Calgary-based Packers Plus Energy Services Inc. of lower court rulings that declared its patent invalid.

Packers Plus had claimed patent infringement in lawsuits against Houston-based Weatherford International and Baker Hughes, along with producer Harvest Operations Corp. and service firms Essential Energy Services and Resource Well Completion Technologies Inc. of Calgary.

In late 2017, a Federal Court judge ruled Packers’ patent wasn’t valid because the technology was an “obvious” improvement on existing techniques and it had been publicly disclosed before the patent application was filed.

In a news release, Essential Energy Services says it will attempt to recover about $5 million in costs it has incurred since the litigation began in 2013.

Packers’ system, patented in Canada in November 2002, has been used in thousands of wells to control and separate high-pressure injections of liquids and sand used to break up tight underground rock and free the oil and gas, a process called hydraulic fracturing or fracking.

In court documents it said the technology was invented by Daniel Themig and helped it grow from 30 employees to almost 1,000.

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