Elevator patent dispute between Cajun Services, Besco Energy ends with dismissal due to jurisdiction

By Charmaine Little | May 6, 2019

NEW ORLEANS – On April 3, the U.S. District in the Eastern District of Louisiana granted in part Cajun Services Unlimited LLC’s motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction a case filed against it by Benton Energy Service Co. over rights to an elevator roller insert system.

Judge Barry Ashe also dismissed the case in part as premature, considering it asks for a ruling of attorney’s fees, and dismissed all of Benton’s claims with prejudice, but without prejudice concerning Benton’s right to go after similar claims detailed as counterclaims in civil action. Benton does business as Besco Tubular.

Cajun argued the court does not have subject-matter jurisdiction over Besco’s lawsuit against it because Besco filed its complaint just a day before the patent in question was distributed. 

"The court simply cannot overlook the fact that Besco filed suit prior to the patent’s issuance,” Ashe wrote. "Given that the patent had not yet issued when Besco filed suit, the pre-patent issuance conduct here constituted a mere ‘threat’ on the day the complaint was filed, and the totality of the circumstances does not satisfy the ‘sufficient immediacy’ necessary to create an actual case or controversy."

Considering this, Ashe said the court doesn’t have subject-matter jurisdiction and dismissed the lawsuit with prejudice. 

As for attorney’s fees, the court said awarding that would be too early.

The lawsuit, which marks the third of consolidated lawsuits concerning the ERIS rights, was initially filed by Cajun against Besco in 2017. Cajun alleged Besco violated the Defend Trade Secrets Act, the Louisiana Uniform Trade Secrets Act, the Louisiana Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law, bad faith breach of contract, fraud, and civil conspiracy. It also asked for injunctive relief and a declaratory judgment that Cajun owned the rights and all things concerning it of the ERIS, which is used in drilling for oil. 

The court dismissed Cajun’s claims. Besco then sued Cajun in June 2018 asking for declaration that the ERIS patent was “invalid, unenforceable, and/or not infringed by Besco,” the ruling states.

Cajun then sued that same month, re-alleging the claims it filed in the first lawsuit. The court consolidated all three of the lawsuits on Aug. 15, 2018. Cajun then filed the current action to dismiss.

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