MARSHALL – A dispute over an oil well drilling patent continues to be fought, despite motions filed on both sides.
This is a patent infringement case filed in the Marshall Division of the Eastern District of Texas in June 2016 by Effective Exploration Co. LLC of Plano against BlueStone Natural Resources II LLP of Houston.
The plaintiff claims that BlueStone operates oil and gas wells that infringe on its '840 patent, specifically “...in violation of 35 U.S.C. § 271(a), including, but not limited to, the following wells (identified by API numbers): 42-121-33627, 42-121-33631, 42-121-33630, 42-1212-33633, or any other combination of four or more horizontal wells, which are located on the same drilling pad at the surface, have non-common surface locations on the drilling pad, have a wellbore extending from the surface comprising a substantially vertical portion extending into a subterranean zone comprising shale and a substantially horizontal drainage bore extending from the substantially vertical portion, and where each well produces a fluid to the surface,” according to a complaint filed June 18, 2016.
Effective Exploration Co. seeks to stop the alleged patent infringement and be awarded monetary damages for past infringement of the patent. In 2014, Effective Exploration patented a method for accessing subterranean deposits from the surface, or patent '840.
A mediation was held but was unsuccessful.
The defendant has filed motions to dismiss the case and motions for sanctions. Also, it has also filed motions to stay, motions for attorneys' fees, and motions for extension of time to complete discovery have been filed.
The defendant's July 25 opposition to the plaintiff's motions for sanctions stated that the plaintiff is "irritated" that it included "allegedly new legal arguments in a supplemental brief" and that Bluestone "declined to pay what Effective Exploration considered a generous settlement offer."
The latest pleading filed Sept. 1 is Effective Exploration LLC’s reply in support of its motion for Rule 11 sanctions and for costs and attorneys’ fees.
In it, it argues “Rather than addressing the substance of their sanctionable conduct, defendants instead attempt to deflect attention away from their failures by quoting poems and by raising unasserted strawman arguments that rejecting reasonable settlements is not sanctionable. However, neither poetry nor straw excuse defendants’ and their attorneys’ failure to investigate the factual predicates of their motion, nor does it excuse attorneys from then asserting entirely new printed publication arguments in place of failed prior use arguments once they discover that the wells were never drilled.”
The plaintiff argued in the motion that BlueStone failed to perform a reasonable inquiry under Fed. R. Civ. P. 11, and “Moreover, in the present case, defendants, which are the owners of the accused wells, have presented no evidence indicating that defendants’ wells were not drilled."
It also argued that defendants have violated their Rule 11 obligations because "existing law does not permit defendants’ new arguments," and defendants "have not provided a nonfrivolous argument for extending, modifying, or reversing existing law or for establishing new law.”
Plaintiffs are represented by Steven R. Daniels and Bryan D. Atkinson of Farney Daniels P.C. in Georgetown, Texas. Defendants are represented by Matthew Philip Chiarizio, John Russell Emerson and Bethany Karen Hrischuk of Haynes & Boone LLP, Dallas.