Upstream Data Sues Crusoe Energy Over Waste Gas Mining Patent

The case involves two companies who aim to power mining rigs through the excess natural gas that comes as a result of oil well drilling.

AccessTimeIconMay 23, 2023 at 7:34 p.m. UTC
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Canada-based natural gas bitcoin (BTC) miner Upstream Data has sued peer Crusoe Energy over patent infringement, according to court filings.

The lawsuit claims that Crusoe's technology infringes on Upstream Data founder Stephen Barbour's patent, and that Crusoe developed that technology in full knowledge of this. The Canadian miner is suing for damages and is asking the court to order Crusoe to stop the alleged intellectual property violation.

Crusoe is aware of the complaint and plans to "vigorously defend itself," a company spokesperson said. The firm "remains confident" in its own "intellectual property, which includes five issued patents," the spokesperson added.

Barbour applied for a natural gas bitcoin mining patent in February 2017, the same year when he founded his company, according to the lawsuit. Barbour's patent was accepted on Feb. 7, 2023.

"Crusoe is a follower rather than a pioneer," read the Upstream Data complaint, claiming Crusoe developed its products years after Barbour.

Crypto miners like these two work on oil and natural gas wells where excess gas is released, or flared into the atmosphere, adding carbon dioxide equivalents, particularly methane. The miners instead set up power generators that burn that excess gas, extracting energy and using it to power bitcoin mining rigs.

Edited by Stephen Alpher.


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Eliza Gkritsi

Eliza Gkritsi is a CoinDesk contributor focused on the intersection of crypto and AI.

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