Schlumberger Wins in US Supreme Court on Patent Damages
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Friday that companies can recover profits lost because of the unauthorized use of their patented technology abroad in a victory for Schlumberger NV, the world's largest oilfield services provider.The 7-2 decision overturned a lower court's ruling that had enforced limits on applying U.S. patent law overseas and reduced by $93.4 million the damages sum that rival ION Geophysical Corp had to pay for infringing Schlumberger technology that helps find oil and gas beneath the ocean floor.
Indian Fishermen Hail US Supreme Court Decision to Hear World Bank Suit
Farmers and fishermen in western India have welcomed a U.S. Supreme Court decision to hear their lawsuit against a World Bank agency, which financed a power plant they blame for damaging the environment and their livelihoods.The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear an appeal by the villagers of a lower court ruling that the International Finance Corp (IFC) was immune from such lawsuits under federal law.The court must now consider for the first time whether international organisations are immune from such suits under federal law…
FMC Commissioner Doyle Rejects Blanket Authorities for Foreign Ro/Ro Carriers
Commissioner William P. Doyle Votes to reject joint contracting authority for Ro/Ro foreign carriers to negotiate collectively for U.S.-Flag tug services. Doyle's Statement, shown below, says new rules go beyond the scope of the Shipping Act and shipping practices harmful to U.S. Today, I voted to disapprove the roll-on roll-off (Ro/Ro) WLL/Eukor/ARC/Glovis Cooperative Working Agreement amendment involving Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics AS (WWL), Eukor Car Carriers Inc. (Eukor), American Roll-on Roll-off Carrier LLC (ARC), and Hyundai Glovis Co. Ltd. (Glovis) (collectively Parties). This amendment filed with the Federal Maritime Commission seeks to broaden the authority of the Parties to jointly solicit bids for contracts covering the provision of tug services…
Austal Hosts Christening of YUMA (EPF 8)
Austal celebrated the christening of the Expeditionary Fast Transport ship USNS Yuma (EPF 8) with a ceremony at its state-of-the-art shipyard here, this morning. The ship’s sponsor, former Secretary of Homeland Security and Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, headlined the group of Austal officials, naval guests, civic leaders, community members and Austal employees who attended the ceremony beneath the hull of the ship in Austal’s final assembly bay. “As a former governor of Arizona, I am especially pleased to sponsor a ship that bears the name of a city whose history is synonymous with the arc of American history,” said Napolitano, who currently serves as the president of the University of California.
Support for Uniform National Discharge Legislation Builds
AWO Pushes VIDA as the solution to the confusing patchwork of federal and state regulations that makes compliance unnecessarily complicated and costly. Even as the ballast water treatment issue becomes more and more confusing – both here and abroad – a united coalition of maritime stakeholders has expressed strong support for S.373, also known as amendment number 3170 (for the current energy bill). The law, known simply as the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA), would establish a nationally uniform and environmentally sound standard for ballast water and other vessel discharges, in lieu of the current overlapping patchwork of federal and state regulations that makes compliance complicated, confusing and costly.
AWO Calls on Congress for Vessel Discharges Bill
A federal appeals court ruling handed down this week underscores the urgent need for Congress to pass the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA) and establish a uniform federal framework for the regulation of ballast water and other vessel discharges, according to the American Waterways Operators (AWO), the trade association that represents the U.S. tugboat, towboat and barge industry. Vessel discharges – including discharges of ballast water, which vessels use to maintain their stability – are currently regulated in redundant and inconsistent ways by two federal agencies, the Coast Guard and the Environmental Protection Agency, and over two dozen states, the AWO noted. On Monday, the U.S.
Iraqi Kurds Reassert Right to Export Oil to US Despite Court Ruling
Kurdistan reasserted its right to export oil independently to the United States and other countries on Tuesday despite a court ruling in favour of the Iraqi federal government, which has sought to block crude sales from the autonomous region. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans on Monday dismissed the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)'s bid to overturn an earlier ruling against a planned sale of oil to an unidentified buyer in the U.S. Iraq's federal government filed a lawsuit in a U.S. court last year to thwart the sale of the one million barrel cargo from the Kurdistan region in an ongoing dispute over the right to export oil. The tanker was stuck off U.S.
U.S. Court Finds WesternGeco Patents Valid
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit recently affirmed the 2014 judgment that ION Geophysical Corp. infringed four seminal WesternGeco LLP patents covering streamer steering technology for marine seismic surveys, and that WesternGeco is the rightful owner of the pioneering technology. In 2009, WesternGeco filed suit for patent infringement against ION's DigiFIN streamer steering system in U.S. federal court in Houston, Texas. ION was found to infringe one patent on summary judgment, and a 2012 jury found that ION infringed three more WesternGeco patents and rejected all of ION's invalidity arguments. The trial court affirmed the jury's verdict, awarded WesternGeco supplemental damages and permanently enjoined ION from continuing to infringe with the DigiFIN system.
Huffman Joins Blank Rome in Houston
Blank Rome LLP announced that Jay T. Huffman has joined the Firm as an associate in the Maritime, International Trade, and Public Contracts group. He is based in the Firm’s Houston office. Huffman joins Blank Rome from Royston, Rayzor, Vickery & Williams, L.L.P. He concentrates his practice in maritime and energy-related litigation matters, including state and federal cases involving MARPOL violations, collisions, cargo contamination, Jones Act, OCSLA, and LHWCA defense. He also has experience handling serious marine incident investigations…
Court Dismisses Boating Industry’s Challenge to EPA Misfueling Rule
The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) said it is disappointed with the U.S. Court of Appeals decision released on Tuesday, October 21, 2014 for the D.C. Circuit to dismiss the recreational boating industry’s challenge of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) rule regarding misfueling mitigation plans surrounding the sale of E15. The case specifically challenged the EPA’s plans to prevent misfueling including the use of what NMMA believes is a highly inadequate pump warning label amongst other insufficient means. The court held that those bringing the case, including the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the Engine Products Group (EPG) which includes NMMA…
US Top Court Upholds Cross-State Air Pollution Rule
The U.S. Supreme Court handed President Barack Obama a victory on Tuesday by upholding a federal environmental regulation requiring some states to limit pollution that contributes to unhealthy air in neighboring states. By a 6-2 vote, the court said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency acted reasonably in requiring 28 states to reduce emissions from coal-fired power plants of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, which can lead to soot and smog. Writing for the majority, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg called the EPA rule a cost-effective way to allocate responsibility for emission reductions among upwind states, and that the EPA need not consider each state's proportionate responsibility for the emissions in question.
Shell's US Arctic Policy an 'Ongoing Gamble': Greenpeace Analysis
The analysis considers that the US Arctic Ocean presents almost a perfect storm of risks: a requirement for a long-term capital-intensive investment for uncertain return; a remote and uniquely challenging operating environment; ongoing court challenges; a lack of extraction and spill response infrastructure; and the spotlight of the world’s environmental organisations, the US political community and international media. Royal Dutch Shell stands at a strategic crossroads. Its response…
Treasure Hunters File Another Suit Against Columbia
Sea Search Armada's (SSA) lawsuit against the Government of Colombia in U.S. District Court, Washington D.C. claims it interfered with SSA's legitimate treasure salvage operations. The galleon San Jose carried coins and precious metals mined and smelted in Peru, and valued by experts to between $4 billion and $17 billion. The ship was sunk outside Cartagena, Colombia in 1708. In 1980, a marine salvage operation was mounted by a group now owned by SSA with the permission and participation of the Colombian government (GOC). After discovering the San Jose wreck site and notifying the GOC, the Colombians reneged on their agreement to share proceeds of any recovered treasure. In 1984, the Colombian Parliament enacted a law eliminating SSA’s claims to its property.
Former Congress Lawyer to Serve as AdvanFort Legal Counsel
AdvanFort Company said attorney Sheila R. Schreiber has come onboard as its in-house legal counsel. Schreiber brings experience in the private and public sectors. She is a former litigation partner with Howrey LLP, served as counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary and has extensive experience in the national and international sales of industrial products. Her specialties include commercial, regulatory, employment, intellectual property, corporate and antitrust matters. Schreiber is a cum laude graduate of the University of Pittsburgh law school where she was a member of the Law Review. Her bar and court memberships include the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
K&L Gates Expands Charleston Law Office
K&L Gates LLP welcomes Michael D. Bryan and Julius H. “Sam” Hines as partners in the corporate/M&A & commercial disputes practices respectively. Bryan joins K&L Gates from Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP, where he chaired the firm’s sustainable energy group, while Hines arrives from Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, LLP, where he was a leader of the firm’s admiralty and maritime practice group. A maritime lawyer and proctor in admiralty, Hines assists shipping clients in investigating and handling marine incidents such as oil spills…
American Investors and Colombian Government Battle over $17 Billion Treasure Salvage
A group of investors sued the Colombian government for preventing American salvage group Sea Search Armada from recovering San Jose, a ship that sank in 1708, often referred to as the “Holy Grail of Shipwrecks.” With numerous court rulings throughout the years, the battle has lasted since 1979. In a case filed March 29 with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), a group of American investors claimed the government of Colombia violated their human rights by preventing them from salvaging their jointly owned property, a Spanish galleon sunk in 800 feet of water near Cartagena, Colombia. The investment group, named Sea Search Armada (SSA), brought the suit after more than 20 years of various legal efforts to affirm SSA’s initial agreement with Colombia.
Enormous Sunken Treasure Claim Conceded, Thirty Years On
Government of Colombia lawyers concede salvage company Sea Search Armada to be rightful owner of 50% of treasure proceeds. Lawyers representing the Government of Colombia (GOC) admitted recently in a U.S. court that Sea Search Armada (SSA), engaged in a long-running suit with Colombia, was the rightful owner of 50 percent of the proceeds of perhaps the most valuable sunken treasure in history. This is the first time representatives of the government have conceded this point in over 30 years of legal wrangling. The admission came in oral arguments before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in Washington, D.C. over the validity of SSA's suit.
Convictions have been obtained for false entries in garbage record books and ballast water management records. What’s Next? Some years ago, I wrote an article lamenting the fraudulent entries made in many oil record books and the increasing use of those entries as signed confessions in the prosecution of ship owners and operators and senior shipboard personnel (particularly chief engineers) for making false statements to the US Coast Guard. Oil record books are required records on commercial vessels and must be presented to Coast Guard boarding officers on demand.
NMMA Ethanol Lawsuit Against U.S. EPA Dismissed
The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) express disappointment at Court's E15 fuel decision. The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) said it was “disappointed” by a US court of appeals decision to dismiss its lawsuit against the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The trade group and other manufacturing associations had earlier sued EPA over its decision to allow E15 into the country’s fuel supply. Recently the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit dismissed the case on procedural grounds. The marine trade association said it is “confident” that the court would have found that the EPA “overstepped its authority” in approving E15 if it had judged on the merits of the case. An NMMA statement said it is “evaluating” further litigation options.
North American Emission Rules for Ships to Enter Force
On 1 August 2012, enforcement of the North American Emissions Control Area (ECA) is due to commence. This third and largest ECA (the other two encompass the North Sea and the Baltic Sea areas) was first proposed by Canada and the United States on 27 March 2009. France quickly joined in on behalf of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, its territory off the Atlantic coast of Canada. The proposal was approved by the IMO on 26 March 2010 by means of an amendment to Annex VI (Regulations for Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships) to the MARPOL Convention.
Stretching the Bounds of State Sovereignty
The operation of vessels in international commerce has never been more complicated than it is today, particularly from the standpoint of regulatory compliance. A vessel operator must be cognizant of international, national, state and local regulatory requirements. In an ideal world, the regulations of subjects such as navigation safety, crew licensure or pollution would be uniform so that an operator could understand the law and more easily comply. In cases where the requirements of one jurisdiction differ from those of another, it would certainly be helpful to know where the line of demarcation between one jurisdiction and another could be firmly drawn. The regulation of air pollution emitted from large oceangoing vessels has been the subject of an international treaty for many years.
Appeals Court Refuses to Close Chicago Locks To Deter Carp
On August 24, 2011, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit refused to issue a preliminary injunction to force the closure of locks on the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS). The case stems from the controversy as to how best to prevent invasive Asian Carp from moving up the Mississippi/Illinois waterway system into Lake Michigan. The state of Michigan and others sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the City of Chicago to force the lock closures and other measures. Lock closures would result in immediate significant economic harm to PVA members that operate vessels in the Chicago area. The lawsuit is not over. It will likely return to the federal district court where the case will be heard in full.
AWO: Need for Congress to Enact Vessel Discharges Legislation
Friday’s decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to reject three maritime industry associations’ challenge to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Vessel General Permit (VGP) highlights the urgent need for Congressional action to establish a uniform and practical regulatory regime for vessel discharges, The American Waterways Operators (AWO) announced today. The VGP was developed by EPA in 2008 under the Clean Water Act National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting program, designed to regulate discharges from land-based stationary sources. The permit contains baseline requirements established by EPA as well as more than 100 state- and waterbody-specific conditions required by individual states.