Transocean Inc. announced that it has reached an agreement in its dispute with contract driller GlobalSantaFe over patent infringement of Transocean's offshore dual activity drilling technology
. The agreement follows an amended final judgment entered last month by a federal district court against GlobalSantaFe. The judgment awarded damages to Transocean and permanently enjoined GlobalSantaFe from further infringement of the Transocean dual activity patents.
On January 19, 2007, Judge Sim Lake of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas entered an amended final judgment against GlobalSantaFe following a jury verdict in Transocean's favor. In August 2006, a federal jury found in favor of Transocean after a trial of approximately two weeks before Judge Lake. The jury upheld the validity and enforceability of the Transocean dual activity patents, and awarded reasonable royalty damages of 5% of the revenue received by GlobalSantaFe for its infringing rigs. Based on the jury findings and an April 2005 summary judgment of infringement against GlobalSantaFe's Development Drillers I and II semisubmersible rigs, Judge Lake issued the amended final judgment awarding Transocean approximately $5.1 million in damages and a permanent injunction against further infringement by GlobalSantaFe. The damage award was based upon 5% of GlobalSantaFe's revenues from two infringing Development Drillers I and II operating in the Gulf of Mexico from start up until GlobalSantaFe modified the structure of its rigs in late December 2006 to comply with the terms of the permanent injunction.
Transocean developed its dual activity drilling design in 1996 as part of a project to more efficiently construct wells in deepwater through the use of two complete drilling systems, allowing for parallel drilling operations to be conducted on a single well that saves operators both time and money, compared with conventional rigs. Transocean continues to discover new ways of saving its customers time and money in the drilling of deepwater exploration and development wells with the patented design.