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Yetter Coleman Wins Jury Verdict in E.D. Tex. Patent Trial for Offshore Drilling Rig Equipment Supplier, Securing Findings of Willful Infringement and Full Damages

Yetter Coleman has successfully represented L.C. Eldridge Sales Co. and Leseman Davis LLC in asserting their U.S. Patent 7,707,828 against Singapore-based Jurong Shipyard and Atwood Oceanics and Seadrill entities operating drilling rigs in the United States Gulf of Mexico.  The case, L.C. Eldridge Sales Co. v. Jurong Shipyard, Pte., et al., was heard before the Hon. Michael Schneider of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division.  The jury found every asserted claim infringed and not invalid.  In addition, the jury found the defendants had willfully infringed Eldridge’s patent and awarded the full amount of lost-profit damages Eldridge sought.

Eldridge invented a system that solves a longstanding problem on offshore drilling rigs caused by toxic exhaust fumes from the large diesel engines used to power the rigs.  When Jurong Shipyard’s customers sought to have the Eldridge system installed on new rigs, Jurong gave Eldridge’s proprietary design drawings to a Singapore-based ventilation company and told it to build a similar system.  Eldridge was diligent about notifying everyone in the industry about the ‘828 patent once it issued, including Jurong and its two drilling company customers, Seadrill, and Atwood.

At trial, Yetter Coleman explained to the jury how Eldridge invented the exhaust system, repeatedly told the industry about its invention, and showed how the Defendants ignored Eldridge’s patent rights.  In less than two hours, the jury returned a unanimous verdict of infringement, committed willfully, by each of the defendants, and Eldridge’s lost profits, rejecting the defense invalidity arguments of anticipation and obviousness.

 Paul Yetter and Eric Chenoweth led the trial team that also included Tom Morrow and Chris Johnson,  along with co-counsel, Findlay Craft LLP.