Woodford tech holding settles battle with scientist

An energy technology company backed by fund manager Neil Woodford has settled a legal battle with a scientist who claimed he was owed $89 million (£69 million) for the use of his invention.

Scientist Andrea Rossi, who claims to have invented a ‘low energy nuclear device’ alleged Industrial Heat, held by Woodford’s Woodford Equity Income fund and Woodford Patient Capital (WPCT ) investment trust, had ‘systematically defrauded’ his intellectual property rights to the energy catalyser, or E-Cat.

E-Cat technology has been shunned by the scientific mainstream but claims to be able to generate energy at more moderate conditions than the high temperatures required for other forms of nuclear fusion.

Rossi’s claim against Industrial Heat reached the Florida courts, but the two parties reached a settlement a week into the case.

Technology and science writer Mats Lewan, author of An Impossible Invention chronicling Rossi’s work, published what he claimed were the terms of the settlement, with Rossi receiving the license to the E-Cat.

Rossi had claimed before the court hearings that Industrial Heat’s claim to the intellectual property had been crucial to its fundraising from Woodford Investment Management and others.

Woodford’s small stake in Industrial Heat has been one of his worst performing holdings. 

Over the 12 months to the end of June, only Allied Minds (ALMLxffdcdcrrvvbyu), 4D Pharma (DDDD) and fellow unquoted stock Kind Consumer have been a bigger drag on performance in the Patient Capital trust. Industrial Heat accounts for around 1.3% of the portfolio.

The stock accounts for a much smaller proportion of the Equity income fund, at just over 0.1%, but still ranks among the 20 biggest weights on the fund over the 12 months to the end of June.

Woodford Investment Management declined to comment, but has previously said it shared Industrial Heat’s ‘quest to eliminate pollution’ through its ‘diverse portfolio of innovative technology, such as low energy nuclear reactions’.

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