Ballance reveals more in patent case

By Kelly Gregor

The technology delivers the nitrification inhibitor by spraying or irrigating grazing pasture. Photo / Brett Phibbs
The technology delivers the nitrification inhibitor by spraying or irrigating grazing pasture. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Fertiliser company Ballance Agri-Nutrients has filed further evidence against Ravensdown at the High Court at Auckland in an attempt to stop its competitor from patenting the delivery method of nitrification inhibitors.

Ballance was given leave by the court to file evidence to support its reasons why the technology, which was developed by Lincoln University for Ravensdown, should not be patented.

The case centres on Ballance's objection to Ravensdown's plans to patent the delivery method of nitrification inhibitors, which it claims will give Ravensdown a monopoly and hinder its own 18,000 farmer shareholders. Ballance claims if the technology is patented it will increase Ravensdown's bottom line by huge proportions.

Ravensdown has been awarded pre-grant approval for the patent but Ballance has appealed in an attempt to stop them from gaining full approval.

Ravensdown general manager Richard Christie said in August the company wanted to patent the technology so it could protect its intellectual property. He also said no other company had developed a similar method that was as effective in reducing nitrate leaching and nitrous oxide emissions.

The technology delivers the nitrification inhibitor by spraying or irrigating grazing pasture. Ballance claims the method has been around for years.

Court documents said nitrous oxide emissions from animal excreta, mainly urine, account for 50 per cent of the country's nitrous oxide emissions, which make up 20 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions.

The Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand says there are several benefits from gaining patent protection, such as gaining the exclusive rights to use and license your invention or product, allowing a business the right to take legal action against anyone who tries to use the product without consent and the fact that a patent could be enough to deter "would-be infringers".

- NZ Herald

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