Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione Sinks Transocean's Offshore Drilling Patents

       By: Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione
Posted: 2009-08-02 05:03:07
Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione, one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the U.S., announced a resounding victory on behalf of its client, Maersk Drilling, a major provider of high-efficiency drilling services to oil companies worldwide, in patent infringement litigation with Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling, Inc., the world's largest offshore drilling company.

Notwithstanding Transocean having previously litigated its patents against another defendant to a successful jury verdict and having subsequently licensed its patents to oil companies and drilling contractors, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas this week granted Maersk's summary judgment motions. The court found Transocean's patents not infringed and invalid for reasons of lack of enablement and obviousness.

The Brinks litigation team of attorneys William H. Frankel, Glen P. Belvis, Mark H. Remus and David P. Lindner presented the motions and arguments that enabled Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas to conclusively determine that Transocean's combination of known concepts of two tubular advancing stations with known automated pipe handling for transferring drilling tubulars from one advancing station to the other to achieve "an undefined, unspecified time-saving event" is "not an invention."

Judge Hoyt's decision is consistent with those of courts in other jurisdictions, notably Norway and Korea, where corresponding Transocean patents have been found invalid after protracted worldwide litigation. Transocean has announced its intention to appeal the U.S. ruling and Brinks and Maersk will vigorously defend this victory.

The patents-in-suit are U.S. Patent Numbers 6,047,781; 6,056,071; 6,068,069; and 6,085,851.

The case is Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling, Inc. v. Maersk Contractors USA Inc., case number 4:07-cv-02392 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas - Houston Division.

Founded in 1917, Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione is based in Chicago with five additional offices across the country serving the intellectual property needs of clients from around the world. The firm is one of the largest IP law firms in the country, with more than 170 attorneys, scientific advisors and patent agents specializing in intellectual property litigation and all aspects of patent, trademark, copyright, trade secret, unfair competition, intellectual asset management, and technology and licensing agreements. Brinks routinely handles assignments in fields as diverse as electrical, chemical, mechanical, biotechnology, pharmaceutical, nanotechnology, Internet and computer technology, as well as in trademarks and brand names for a wide variety of products and services.
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