Federal jury awards Spoked Manufacturing $5 million in patent infringement case


A Louisiana federal jury has awarded Spoked Manufacturing $5 million in a patent infringement and fraud case against Besco Tubular of Houma.

The case centers on an elevator roller-insert system used in oil wells, according to Gray-based precision CNC machining and fabrication facility Spoked. In court papers, managers and brothers Shane and Heath Triche say they invented and patented the proprietary tool, which Besco then rented, and duplicated to create its own tools.

Last week, a six-day trial concluded with the jury finding oil services company Besco guilty of patent infringement, breach of contract, violating state consumer protection law, fraud, and trade secret appropriation.

The verdict came in a lawsuit filed in 2017. In the original complaint, Spoked alleges a Besco employee made a passing mention of a problem in the industry to a Spoked employee during a personal conversation after hours. Later, “at no urging of and unbeknownst to Besco, [Spoked] set out to find a solution to this industrywide problem,” the plaintiffs said in the complaint.

After the tool was unveiled, court papers allege, Besco then “feigned interest” and requested that Spoked send over its exclusive license proposal, but Besco had no real intention of licensing with Spoked.

Rather, Spoked alleges, Besco “formulated a plan” to rent the device and then pass it off as its own. At the time of the complaint, Besco allegedly owed Spoked more than $700,000 in outstanding invoices and interest on the tool.

Besco denies the allegations in court filings.