HOUSTON, August 7, 2020 – Baker Botts recently achieved an important victory for client Utex at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) in rival Gardner Denver’s challenge to Utex’s novel frac pump packing patent. On August 5, 2020, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) of the USPTO denied Gardner Denver’s petition for inter partes review (“IPR”) of U.S. Patent No. 10,428,949 (“the ’949 Patent”). Gardner Denver’s petition sought to invalidate Utex’s ’949 Patent at the USPTO.
Utex’s ’949 Patent is related to another novel Utex frac pump packing patent (U.S. Patent No. 9,534,691), which Utex has accused Gardner Denver of infringing in a suit brought by Utex against Gardner Denver in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas in early 2018. In that action, Utex also asserts that Gardner Denver targeted Utex’s employees and its XLH® product line, and in that effort misappropriated critical Utex trade secrets, tortiously interfered with its contractual rights and engaged in unfair competition.
The case is important because it relates to a product line critical to Utex’s business and because it calls into question the methods used by a rival in targeting its competitor’s employees and products to enter a new business. Trial in the case is expected in late 2020/early 2021.
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