National Oilwell Varco Wins Restraining Order Over Stolen Designs Used in Chinese Knockoffs
September 26, 2012

HOUSTON – Houston-based National Oilwell Varco LP (NOV), the worldwide designer and manufacturer of oil and gas drilling and production equipment, has won a temporary restraining order against Mud King Products Inc. as part of an industrial espionage lawsuit filed by NOV over stolen proprietary blueprints used to create Chinese knockoffs for resale in the U.S.

On Sept. 21, 2012, State District Judge Alexandra Smoots-Hogan of Houston found that NOV demonstrated probable injury and right of recovery against Mud King and two of the company’s employees.

Houston-based Mud King, a supplier of oilfield replacement parts, was ordered to stop selling drilling mud pumps inspired by NOV designs, and to not disclose NOV design information to third parties. The judge also ordered that NOV will be allowed to inspect Mud King’s computers and electronic devices, in addition to prohibiting Mud King from destroying documents obtained from NOV.

In the lawsuit, NOV says one of its own employees confessed to stealing hundreds of NOV’s secret blueprints and trading them to a Mud King employee for cash. The suit says Mud King then sold the stolen trade secrets to a Chinese manufacturing company that now makes “knockoffs” of NOV products that Mud King in turn sells in the U.S.

The lawsuit was filed by AZA (or AZA) lawyers John Zavitsanos, Tim Shelby and Monica Uddin. The legal claim includes allegations against Mud King for misappropriation of trade secrets, computer fraud, theft and conspiracy.

The case is National Oilwell Varco, L.P v. Mud King Products, Inc., Nigel Brassington and Freddy Rubiano in Harris County District Court, No. 2012-55427.

AZA, or Ahmad, Zavitsanos & Mensing, is a Houston-based law firm that is home to true courtroom lawyers with a formidable track record in complex commercial litigation, including energy, intellectual property, securities fraud, construction and business dispute cases. AZA is one of only 32 firms in the U.S. to be recognized as “awesome opponents” in a nationwide poll of corporate general counsel who were asked to name the law firms they hope their companies never have to face in court. In fact, AZA has been hired on many occasions by the same companies the firm has prevailed against at trial. Read more at


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