A renewable energy company is suing an oil giant for £25m over its experimental offshore wind turbine project in the Moray Firth.
One of the offshore wind turbines being floated out
Pine Energy Consultants claims it approached Talisman Energy with the proposal for such a scheme.
It also alleges confidential information was disclosed to Scottish ministers and others.
Talisman disputes the claims, saying it was no more than a general idea which had been presented by Pine Energy.
It also said any agreements with Pine Energy ended after five years.
Following legal debate in the Outer House of the Court of Session in Edinburgh, Lord Glennie decided Pine Energy had a case in principle.
He has given the firm an opportunity to improve its case.
Pine Energy alleges it carried out detailed investigations into the feasibility of generating electricity from large-scale offshore wind farms more than 12 miles from land.
It identified Talisman's Beatrice Field in the Moray Firth as the preferred location and approached the company with its proposal and investigations.
The two organisations then began working on the project.
Pine Energy said that in 2003 it received a letter from Talisman which said its services were not required in advancing the project.
The renewable energy company alleges that information protected by a confidential agreement was later disclosed to Scottish and Southern Energy, the Department of Trade and Industry, Scottish ministers and the European Commission Directorate-General for Energy and Transport.
Last year, two giant experimental offshore wind turbines were floated out into the Moray Firth.
Pine Energy said the scheme would not have got off the ground without its input and is claiming royalties worth £25m.
Talisman Energy (UK) said that, at this stage, there had been nothing more than legal debate.
It said the judgment from Lord Glennie stated that the case for breach of confidence presented in its original form was "so confusing, so unclear and so lacking in specification as to be irrelevant".
Talisman said that at no time was any confidential information disclosed to Scottish ministers.
It said a significant majority of the case presented by Pine Energy had been dismissed and they had been given a second chance to prepare one small part of the case.
Talisman said it intended to vigorously defend what remained of the action.