Oil sector's David takes Goliath to court

The small Norwegian company, Neodrill, won a court case regarding patent violations two years back against its stakeholder, Equinor. Now the former is suing Aker Solutions in a similar case.

Oil field Troll-C. Photo: PR / Aker Solutions

Neodrill is aiming its sling a yet another Philistine giant.

Back in 2018, the small company won a lawsuit against Equinor, which owns a third of Neodrill, for breaching patent rights.

Neodrill claimed that Equinor, then Statoil, had without license used the former's proprietary Cap-X technology, a concept for extending seabed installations at particularly challenging sites.

A court in Stavager ordered a temporary prohibition on Equinor utilizing the technology, which Neodrill claimed violated its IP rights during a probe drilling in the Barents Sea.

Equinor reacted with a lawsuit against Neodrill and sought a court ruling to invalidate the latter's patents. This ended with the oil giant's crushing defeat in an Oslo court and triggered a fine of NOK 40 million payable to the smaller business.

"Statoil's behavior toward Neodrill is contemptible and unbecoming," the court stated.

Suing Aker Solutions

Now Neodrill has, according to domestic media Teknisk Ukeblad, taken yet another towering antagonist to court, this time involving Aker Solutions.

"The invention pertains a design that reduces stress from the well head through a bending moment generated through a horizontal stress component from a well element installed above a well head," the media writes in reference to legal documents concerning Neodrill's patent, NO344358.

Exactly how Aker Solutions is supposed to have violated the IP rights remains undisclosed, but legal documents show that Neodrill has requested a series of documents regarding the Troll field.

Unlike Equinor, there are no indications that Aker Solutions has attempted to nullify Neodrill's patents. Ten days are alloted to the case, set to commence on April 12, 2021.

English Edit: Daniel Frank Christensen

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