Acacia goes after Petrel

Patent troll accuses Schlumberger, Landmark, Roxar and other geoscience software vendors with infringement of Austin Geomodeling patent - citing, inter alia, ‘visits [...] to the AGM website.'

The sale of Austin Geomodeling to SeisWare (see below) was an opportunity for us to revisit the company that was established as a vehicle to monetize AGM’s patents. Dynamic 3D Geosolutions (D3DG) was established in December 2013 by Acacia Research and AGM’s owners in order to defend two patents for ‘dynamic, 3-D geological and geophysical modeling used in oil and gas exploration and production.’ The essence of the patent appears to be the ability to correlate well logs and automatically update and display a geological model in 3D.

Mid 2014, Acacia went into action with a series of lawsuits naming Emerson/Roxar, LMKR, IHS, Paradigm, Halliburton/Landmark and Schlumberger in respect of claimed infringements of D3DG’s US patent number 7,986,319 B2. The patent, applied for in 2007 and awarded in 2011, covers a ‘method and system for dynamic, three-dimensional geological interpretation and modeling.’

Acacia’s claim is that certain functionality of geological modeling software such as Schlumberger’s Petrel, Landmark’s DecisionSpace, Roxar’s RMS, IHS Kingdom and LMKR Geographix infringes on D3DG’s patents.
The complaints have been filed in Austin Texas, alleging infringements both within the State, and, by virtue of the Texas ‘long arm statute,’ elsewhere.

Acaia’s claim is that the patented technology first released in AGM’s Recon 3.0 was ‘quickly adopted’ across the industry and had become ‘the new de facto industry standard for geological interpretation software.’
Other vendors ‘began [..] selling licenses to their own software tools that unlawfully appropriated Recon’s patented inventions.’ AGM, lacking the resources to defend itself turned to Acacia and the rights to the patent were assigned to the new D3DG company.

In support of its claim that others copied AGM’s technology, Acacia cites evidence from AGM’s web log files that allegedly show that the defendants ‘visited AGM’s website.’ One, Roxar, has allegedly visited the AGM site ‘over fifteen times’ since patent was issued.
Acacia, in a quaintly termed ‘prayer for relief,’ has asked the court to stop defendants marketing their tools pending a trial by jury.

Comment—Whatever the merits of the case, and whether a visit to a competitor’s website can be taken as signifying anything at all, Acacia is a powerful adversary. In the past year it succeeded in actions against Autodesk, Blackberry, IBM, Garmin, GE, Nokia, and many others. The company had fiscal revenues of $131 million in 2013, down from a 2012 high of $251 million. More from Acacia.

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