On July 9, the case of M-I SWACO vs. Halliburton Energy Services Inc. was removed from a California Federal Court and officially transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division, Judge Leonard Davis presiding.
M-I claims Halliburton "maliciously persecuted" its company with "baseless litigation" regarding patent infringement and seeks to recover more than $3 million in treble damages. Treble damages are awarded by a judge in amount that is three times the amount awarded by the jury as a means to punish the defendant.
M-I is represented by attorney John Keville of Houston. Monte Bond of Dallas is representing Halliburton.
The suit stems from previous legal action between the two companies.
Around 2005, M-I claimed Halliburton, in an attempt to monopolize the drilling market, manufactured an illegal patent by fraudulently obtaining it through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the plaintiff's complaint stated.
"On May 3, 2005, the same day (the patent) was issued, Halliburton sued M-I, asserting M-I's Rheliant drilling fluid system infringed on (its patent)."
M-I claims Halliburton pursued legal action because the company viewed M-I as a threat to its fluids division, "recognizing that it was losing ground in the marketplace to M-I," the complaint said.
"HalliburtonÃ¯Â¿Â½instituted a plan to obtain patents broader than its inventions in order to alter and control the marketplace through baseless litigation."
M-I spent millions battling Halliburton in federal court, and on Oct. 18, 2006, a U.S. District Court judge, Eastern District of Texas,
ruled Halliburton's patent claims invalid, the complaint said.
M-I is seeking compensatory and treble damages and that "Halliburton be enjoined from enforcing against M-I, or other companies in the relevant markets, any patent issuing from pending or future patent applicationsÃ¯Â¿Â½," the suit said.
With locations in more than 70 countries, M-I SWACO is a worldwide company representing a wide array of businesses involved in drilling, reservoir drill-in and completion fluids and associated services for the petroleum industry, the company's Web site said. "We are also a world leader in solids control equipment, drilling waste management services, and separation and screening products for the petroleum, municipal and industrial markets."