Cases and Deals

Blank Rome Wins Patent Jury Trial in WDTX for NCS Multistage

On January 21, 2022, a Blank Rome team won a jury verdict for our clients NCS Multistage, Inc. and NCS Multistage, LLC after a four-day trial in the Western District of Texas, Waco Division. NCS designs and sells downhole tools used in drilling and completing oil and gas wells.

The jury found that defendant Nine Energy Service’s BreakThru™ product infringes NCS’s ’445 patent. The jury rejected Nine’s invalidity defenses, and awarded NCS $486,400 in past damages. The jury’s damages award is more than twice what the defendant argued the damages should be, and equates to a go-forward royalty of $750 for every BreakThru™ product Nine sells in the future. The patent is barely two years old, so the future royalty payments will be due to NCS for years to come—which will result in millions in license revenue to NCS.

The ‘445 patent covers NCS’s Airlock® product, a drilling tool that changed the way oil and gas wells are drilled in the United States. The Airlock®’s market success prompted NCS’s competitors to introduce competing products. In response, NCS initiated a patent enforcement strategy against these competitors, which was led by Blank Rome attorneys Domingo LLagostera and Russell Wong. Five competitors quickly agreed to settlements after NCS sued, and three voluntarily took licenses. But NCS’s two biggest competitors, including Nine, decided to vigorously litigate.

Last week’s jury trial was before Judge Alan Albright, whose court is the best-known patent venue in the country—about 25 percent of U.S. patent suits are filed in his court. As a result, every decision and verdict that issues out of Judge Albright’s court is closely watched by patent lawyers and technology companies across the country.

For more information on this case, please read Year's 1st Patent Trial Leads To $486K Oil Well Award In WDTX (Law360, January 24, 2022).

The Blank Rome trial team consisted of Andy Fletcher, Domingo LLagostera, Russell Wong, and Megan Wood. Divya Kannegenti and Neil Young also assisted in the litigation, as did Blank Rome professionals M’Liss Hindman and Sylvia Martinez.  

This victory has received significant media attention, including the following article Blank Rome Guides Drilling Tech Company to Patent Trial Win Over Competitor (Texas Lawyer, January 26, 2022).