Score about even in Boart, Imdex sensor patent stoush

Mineral drilling services and equipment company Boart Longyear says it has “reached agreement” with Australia’s Imdex on the use of the latter’s down-hole drill-core orientation device IP in the US market after a local court found Boart had infringed Imdex’s patent.

Boart said the ruling on intellectual property related to optical IR couplings (iRDA) in orientation devices sold in the US meant it had until the end of March next year to withdraw all of its TruCore orientation tools from use in its domestic market. It also can’t sell, import or supply any of the infringing tools in the US.

Boart is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Imdex’s competing core orientation device is available for use by Boart, with Imdex to meet any market support needs.

Meanwhile, Imdex has until September next year to stop supplying drill-hole devices with optical IR couplings deemed to have infringed Boart subsidiary Globaltech’s US patent. It can opt to pay royalties to Boart/Globaltech on any continued, agreed, use of the product, but Imdex is not pursuing a challenge to the original patent infringement ruling with the US Patent and Trademark Office.

The Australian company is, however, still challenging patent infringement notices on equivalent core orientation devices in Canada, South Africa and Australia. A recent decision against Imdex in the Australian Federal Court is still said to be going through an appeals process, with no word yet on the timing of any outcome.

Imdex has a “restraining order” on its use of the down-hole optical device in Australia, pending the result of its appeal.

Imdex and Boart Longyear are two of the companies seeking to carve a big slice out of mining’s expanding “orebody knowledge” technology pie, through the supply of drilling tool information sensors and cloud-based analytical services.



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