Schlumberger Claims Its Corporate Counsel Stole Trade Secrets

Schlumberger Ltd.,the world’s largest oilfield services company, has sued its former deputy general counsel in charge of intellectual property, claiming that she stole the company’s trade secrets before leaving the company to join Acacia Research Group.

Former Schlumberger counselCharlotte Rutherford is now a senior vice president at Acacia. She had been with Schlumberger since 1996.

Acacia is a firm that acquires and licenses patents and engages in patent litigation. The firm has been called “the mother of all patent trolls” and it has generated over $1 billion in revenue.

Schlumberger claims that Rutherford copied confidential trade secret information onto USB flash drives and deleted the information from her company-owned laptop just before she left for Acacia.

Schlumberger also claims that Rutherford asked Schlumberger’s information technology department to help her extract files from her company laptop, and that she took hard copies of confidential documents.

Acacia’s CEO said the case was without merit and a “bullying tactic” in response to a patent infringement case against Schlumberger.

Schlumberger admitted that the recent filing of a patent case against it had led it to investigate Rutherford, but did not identify the specific case.

On February 4, Schlumberger was sued for infringing a Dynamic Geosolutions patent in a case filed in Austin, Texas. The patent at issue is for a “Method and system for dynamic, three-dimensional geological interpretation and modeling,” and is used to analyze oil and gas reservoirs.

The inventors entered into a partnership with Acacia to license and enforce the patent in 2013.

The complaint charges that instead of seeking to license the invention, Schlumberger and other companies began using their own infringing software to provide consulting services and training to customers.

If you are concerned about whether your company is taking adequate steps to protect your trade secrets, contact our office to arrange a free initial consultation with one of our attorneys.

At Sheldon Mak & Anderson, we recognize that innovation is your competitive edge – and it needs protection. Recognized as one of the country’s “Best Law Firms” by U.S. News and Best Lawyers, Sheldon Mak & Anderson was established in 1983 and is one of Pasadena’s oldest law firms. Our full-service IP firm provides local, regional, national, and international legal services in the following areas: patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, IP litigation, international patent and trademark prosecution, licensing, alternative dispute resolution, and green technology.

Contact our knowledgeable intellectual property attorneys today TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) or email us at to find out how we can provide powerful protection for your unique ideas.

We have offices conveniently located in Pasadena (626-796-4000, 100 Corson Street Third Floor, Pasadena, CA 91103-3842);  Riverside (951-787-7770, 5885 Brockton Avenue, Riverside, CA 92506-1863); Upland (909-946-3939, 222 N. Mountain Avenue, Suite 210, Upland, CA 91786-5714); and Orange County (855-874-3327, 2102 Business Center Drive, Suite 130, Irvine, CA 92612-1001).

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Photo Attribution: ”Brazil – The first 100% Brazilian oil platform, the P-51 will produce about 180 thousand barrels of oil and 6 million cubic meters of gas per day when operating at full load.” by Divulgação Petrobras / ABr is licensed under CC BY 3.0.


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