US Supreme Court rules in favour of Schlumberger on patent breaches overseas

Schlumberger, the world’s largest oilfield services provider, enjoyed a victory in the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) with a ruling that the company can recover profits for “unauthorised use of its patented technology” in foreign countries, according to Reuters.

The 7-2 majority decision overturned a lower court’s ruling that had confirmed limitations on applying US patent law overseas.

That prior decision had reduced by $93.4 million an amount of damages that Houston-based ION Geophysical Corporation had to pay Schlumberger for unaccredited application in foreign markets of technology that is used to search for oil and gas beneath the ocean floor.

The majority SCOTUS opinion said that ION had infringed patents held by a Schlumberger subsidiary, the UK-based WesternGeco.

In the dissenting opinion it was argued that extending US patent holders’ monopoly rights overseas opened up the potential for reciprocal actions by foreign patent owners against US businesses.

Schlumberger has principal offices in Houston, Paris, London and The Hague.

Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.
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