In the News: Steelhead LNG Alleges Infringement

Aerial view of Port Alberni Harbour.
Aerial view of Port Alberni Harbour (near a halted Steelhead project at Sarita Bay). Image by Kevstan, shared under CC BY-SA 3.0.

By Liz Gray and Chris Chiavatti

A long-running dispute between several producers of liquified natural gas (LNG) is heading to Federal Court.  A statement of claim filed by Steelhead LNG alleges that several other LNG companies have infringed Steelhead’s patents and misused confidential information.  Steelhead LNG is seeking more than $250 million in damages and an injunction against at least one of the defendants.

The patent allegedly being infringed claims a barge-mounted liquefaction system that uses electric shore power (instead of burning emissions-heavy natural gas) to drive the powerful compressors required to cool LNG into its liquid phase.  The defendants in the case strenuously opposed the issuance of the patent and submitted numerous letters of protest and prior art to the CIPO.  One defendant also presented a curious public-policy argument to the CIPO: that patent offices should refuse to issue patents for environmentally beneficial inventions, instead of rewarding and encouraging green tech innovation.

Brion Raffoul closely monitors developments in patent law in Canada and will watch this case with interest.  For further information about patent infringement or innovation in green technology, please contact our experts at Brion Raffoul.