Schlumberger Ltd.,the world’s largest oilfield services company, has sued its former deputy general counsel in charge of intellectual property, claiming that she stole the company’s trade secrets before leaving the company to join Acacia Research Group.
Former Schlumberger counselCharlotte Rutherford is now a senior vice president at Acacia. She had been with Schlumberger since 1996.
Acacia is a firm that acquires and licenses patents and engages in patent litigation. The firm has been called “the mother of all patent trolls” and it has generated over $1 billion in revenue.
Schlumberger claims that Rutherford copied confidential trade secret information onto USB flash drives and deleted the information from her company-owned laptop just before she left for Acacia.
Schlumberger also claims that Rutherford asked Schlumberger’s information technology department to help her extract files from her company laptop, and that she took hard copies of confidential documents.
Acacia’s CEO said the case was without merit and a “bullying tactic” in response to a patent infringement case against Schlumberger.
Schlumberger admitted that the recent filing of a patent case against it had led it to investigate Rutherford, but did not identify the specific case.
On February 4, Schlumberger was sued for infringing a Dynamic Geosolutions patent in a case filed in Austin, Texas. The patent at issue is for a “Method and system for dynamic, three-dimensional geological interpretation and modeling,” and is used to analyze oil and gas reservoirs.
The inventors entered into a partnership with Acacia to license and enforce the patent in 2013.
The complaint charges that instead of seeking to license the invention, Schlumberger and other companies began using their own infringing software to provide consulting services and training to customers.
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