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Oilfield Service Patent Contests Get Heated

Source: Getty Images.

From the highest courts of the US judicial branch to the C-suite, contests involving patents have recently come to the fore in the innovation-hungry US oilfield services industry, even as filings and litigation have recently declined.

In the past few months, the US Supreme Court has ruled on two disputes involving oilfield services firms, providing guidance on the extent to which patent protection applies beyond US borders and reaffirming a controversial process by which a patent’s validity is reexamined. The decisions come as companies adopt a more tactical approach in their pursuit and defense of intellectual property (IP).

The most recent ruling, which came in June, found that Schlumberger’s geophysical services subsidiary WesternGeco could recover lost profits for infringement abroad of four of its US patents by rival Ion Geophysical. The technology in question involved control systems for marine seismic streamer steering devices, separately falling under WesternGeco’s Q-Marine brand and Ion’s DigiFin brand. Ion was shipping the components overseas to customers, which then assembled the technology for their own use. 

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Oilfield Service Patent Contests Get Heated

Matt Zborowski, Technology Writer

01 September 2018

Volume: 70 | Issue: 9

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