Packers Plus files appeal of court ruling that fracking technology patent is invalid
Calgary company says system has been used in more than 10,000 wells since 2001
Packers Plus Energy Services Inc. has filed an appeal of a Federal Court of Canada ruling in December that declared invalid its patent for a well-completion technology that has helped usher in the shale oil and gas boom in North America.
In a filing with the Federal Court of Appeal, the Calgary-based fracking technology company asks that its patent be upheld and that its patent infringement claims be supported.
Defendants it names include 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 the December decision, the judge ruled that Packers' patent isn't valid because it was an "obvious" improvement on existing techniques and had been publicly disclosed before the patent application was filed.
Packers' system, patented in Canada in November 2002, is used to control and separate high-pressure injections of liquids and sand used to break up tight underground rock and free the oil and gas to be produced from horizontal wells, a process called hydraulic fracturing or fracking.
It says in court documents the technology invented by Daniel Themig has been used in more than 10,000 wells since 2001 and has helped Packers grow from 30 employees to almost 1,000.