Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling, Inc. v. Maersk Drilling USA, Inc., No. 11-1555 (Fed. Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
The patents share a common specification, directed to an improved apparatus for offshore drilling. Transocean sought to improve on the time-consuming process of lowering equipment to the seabed by using a “dualactivity” drilling apparatus. Transocean alleged that Maersk infringed claims in the three patents by entering into a contract that granted Statoil the right to use an allegedly infringing drilling rig. The Federal Circuit previously vacated the district court’s grant of summary judgment of noninfringement and reversed its grant of summary judgment of invalidity for obviousness and lack of enablement. On remand, a jury found that Maersk failed to prove that the asserted claims would have been obvious or were not enabled. The jury made specific findings that the prior art failed to disclose every element of the asserted claims and that each of seven objective factors indicated nonobviousness and awarded $15 million in compensatory damages for infringement. The district court, however, granted Maersk judgment as a matter of law that the asserted claims are invalid as obvious and not enabled, that Maersk did not infringe. The Federal Circuit reversed, finding the jury verdict supported by substantial evidence.