Supreme Court Rejects Shell Bid in Royalties Case

By Bob Drummond Bloomberg News | THE JOURNAL RECORD, December 2, 1997 | Go to article overview

Supreme Court Rejects Shell Bid in Royalties Case


Bob Drummond Bloomberg News, THE JOURNAL RECORD


WASHINGTON -- Shell Oil faces a lawsuit for past royalties on a plastic-making patent after failing to convince the U.S. Supreme Court that it can't be forced to pay any fees after a patent's been declared invalid.

The high court on Monday rejected Shell's appeal of a decision that permits Germany's Studiengesellschaft Kohle (SGK) to proceed with a suit seeking royalties for plastic that Shell produced at a Texas plant from 1987 to 1993.

SGK's suit charged that Shell violated a licensing agreement by failing to pay fees that were due under a contract that permitted Shell to use SGK's patented technology for making polypropylene plastic. During an initial court fight, Shell challenged the validity of SGK's patent. A federal appeals court agreed that SGK's patent is not valid. The appeals court nonetheless said SGK could ask for royalties under the licensing contract for the period before Shell first raised questions about the patent's validity. In its high court appeal, Shell unsuccessfully argued that once a patent has been declared invalid, companies that agreed to pay a patent-licensing fee should be free from liability for earlier royalties. "The invalidity of the licensed patent should end any ability (by SGK) to recover any additional or past due royalties under any legal theory," Shell argued. SGK is an arm of Germany's non-profit Max-Planck Institute for Coal Research. The appeals court ruling sends the case back to a trial court for further proceedings to see whether Shell actually used SGK's previously patented process to make plastic at a plant in Seadrift, Texas. Shell argues that the Seadrift plant used different technology. If a court finds that Shell's process did use technology covered by SGK's patent, Shell could be liable for royalties it would have been charged up to the date when Shell first challenged the patent's validity. SGK's lawyer, Nathaniel Kramer, said damages against Shell could reach "seven figures" if SGK ultimately wins the case. The lawsuit, however, has not proceeded far enough for more than the broadest estimate of potential damages, he said. Houston-based Shell has since sold that polypropylene business to Union Carbide. Shell is a unit of Royal Dutch Petroleum. The case is Shell Oil vs. Studiengesellschaft Kohle, 97-533. In other Supreme Court action Monday: * The justices sought the federal government's views about whether insurance companies can be sued for stiff penalties under a federal racketeering law, without usurping state authority to regulate the insurance industry. The high court asked the Justice Department to file a brief outlining its position in an appeal by Humana.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Supreme Court Rejects Shell Bid in Royalties Case
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.