ROANOKE, Va. (CN) – An inventor claims in Federal Court that Cameron International and others swiped his design for a $150 million gizmo that capped the Deepwater Horizon oil well in the Gulf of Mexico.
Charles Adams claims defendants Richard Haun, Equipment Design and Manufacturing Group, Helix Energy Solutions Group and Cameron International Corp. conspired to steal trade secrets for “a capping device employing a hydraulically actuated attachment mechanism and a highly effective seal,” and made hundreds of millions of dollars from it.
The complaint states: “Like millions of other Americans, Adams watched broadcast coverage of the fiery destruction of the Deepwater Horizon rig, the Macondo Well blowout and the resulting, massive, apparently uncontrollable pollution of sea and land in horror. Unlike most other Americans, however, Adams – an inventor with a particular facility for mechanical solutions to vexing problems and experience in the oil industry – had the ability to do something to combat what appeared, as the days wore on, to be a hopeless situation.”
Adams claims he designed the device and contacted Haun to help him build a prototype. He claims Haun took his confidential conceptual drawings and shared them with Helix and Cameron, which built the device without telling Adams.
“In his home in southwest Virginia, Adams watched in amazement as network television broadcasts displayed footage of his invention, in finished form, en route to the disaster site,” Adams says in his complaint. “Viewing the televised images, there was no question in Adams’ mind that the device BP was deploying was in fact his invention. Adams realized that Haun and ED&M must have stolen his invention and provided it to BP, no doubt passing it off as their own conception.”
Adams claims his invention has extraordinary value, and believes he lost $150 million.
He wants the defendants to pay that amount for each of sex counts, including conspiracy, interference and misappropriation of trade secrets. He also wants punitive damages and a declaration that he is sole owner of the invention.
His lead counsel is Vernon Inge Jr., with LeClair Ryan, of Richmond.