HOUSTON, June 22 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — ION Geophysical Corporation
(NYSE: IO) today announced that it has filed a lawsuit against WesternGeco
L.L.C. in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas.
The lawsuit alleges that WesternGeco’s Q-Marine system, components and
technology infringe ION’s U.S. Patent No. 6,525,992 related to steering
devices and control systems for marine seismic streamers. The lawsuit also
alleges that WesternGeco misappropriated ION’s proprietary technology by using
ION’s technology in its patents and products, tortiously interfered with ION’s
customer contracts, and breached a confidentiality agreement between the
parties. ION is asking the court to enjoin WesternGeco from making, selling,
or using its Q-Marine system and components and any other infringing products,
as well as for monetary damages.
ION filed the lawsuit after attempts to negotiate a licensing arrangement
with WesternGeco were unsuccessful and WesternGeco filed a preemptive lawsuit
against ION, claiming that ION infringed several patents that were issued to
WesternGeco after ION’s ‘992 patent was issued. In response to the lawsuit
filed by WesternGeco, ION has asked the court to declare that the WesternGeco
patents are not infringed and are invalid. ION is also asserting that the
lawsuit against it by WesternGeco is an illegal attempt to restrict
competition in the market for marine seismic surveys performed using laterally
steerable streamers. Based on ION’s review of the lawsuit and the patents at
issue, ION believes that the claims brought by WesternGeco are without merit
and intends to defend the claims against it vigorously.
ION’s ‘992 patent was filed in 1995 and issued in 2003 after years of
development efforts by ION and its predecessors. Bob Peebler, ION’s Chief
Executive Officer, commented, “ION is a company founded on innovation and our
technology regarding steerable streamers is an excellent example. From the
original DigiBird(TM) streamer depth control device to our latest DigiFIN(TM)
streamer lateral steering device and ORCA(R) next-generation command and
control system, our technology in this area reflects more than 20 years of
development efforts by many innovative individuals, with the overriding goal
to provide advanced positioning systems that enable seismic service providers
to operate more efficiently and safely while delivering higher resolution
subsurface images to their oil and gas customers. We would always prefer to
resolve disputes without resorting to litigation, but we are committed to
protecting and enforcing our extensive patent and intellectual property
portfolio and in this case WesternGeco left us with no other choice.
As for the claims brought by WesternGeco, we strongly believe that none of
our products infringe their patents and that we can provide customers with
access to all of our products and technology without being in conflict with
any validly issued patents of other parties, including those of WesternGeco.
We believe that WesternGeco’s attempt to control the market through threats
against our customers and legal action against ION is a validation of the
success and promise of ION’s product line. I would encourage any customer
with concerns about the claims brought against ION to contact their ION sales
representative to learn more information.”
ION is a leading provider of geophysical technology, services, and
solutions for the global oil & gas industry. ION’s offerings allow E&P
operators to obtain higher resolution images of the subsurface to reduce the
risk of exploration and reservoir development, and enable seismic contractors
to acquire geophysical data more efficiently. Additional information about ION
is available at www.iongeo.com.
Contacts ION (Investor relations) Chief Financial Officer Brian Hanson, +1 281.879.3672
The information included herein contains certain forward-looking
statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and
Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. These forward-looking
statements include statements concerning outcome of litigation, which is
inherently unpredictable. Actual results may vary materially from those
described in these forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements
reflect numerous assumptions and involve a number of risks and uncertainties.
These risks and uncertainties include the outcome of the litigation.
Additional risk factors, which could affect actual results, are disclosed by
the Company from time to time in its filings with the Securities and Exchange
Commission (“SEC”), including its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year
ended December 31, 2008 and its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter
ended March 31, 2009.
SOURCE ION Geophysical Corporation
Investor relations, Brian Hanson,
Chief Financial Officer of
Web Site: http://www.iongeo.com