Author: Hala S. Mourad
Editor: Jeff T. Watson
In Dynamic 3D Geosolutions LLC v. Schlumberger Ltd., Nos. 15-1628, -1629 (Fed. Cir. Sept. 12, 2016), the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision to disqualify Dynamic 3D’s counsel and dismiss its patent infringement complaint without prejudice because Charlotte Rutherford, Dynamic 3D’s in-house counsel at a related subsidiary, previously worked for Schlumberger and was presumed to possess relevant confidential information.
Dynamic 3D sued Schlumberger, alleging infringement of U.S. Patent 7,986,319, which discloses three-dimensional displays of geological data. After Schlumberger raised the potential conflict of interest, the district court found that Rutherford’s work at Schlumberger was substantially related to her current work at Acacia Research Group LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Acacia Research Corporation, the parent company of Dynamic 3D. The district court disqualified Rutherford, other Acacia in-house counsel, and Dynamic 3D’s outside counsel from representing Dynamic 3D. The district court also dismissed Dynamic 3D’s claims against Schlumberger without prejudice because the pleadings were drafted by counsel Rutherford interacted with who were presumed to possess Schlumberger’s confidential information.