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Oil and gas companies routinely pay tens of millions of dollars for high-resolution images of hidden crude reservoirs under the ocean floor. As a result, competition is fierce among the marine seismic surveying companies that specialize in producing such images, and they’re constantly trying to improve the accuracy of their surveys. A jury has now found that one company, Ion Geophysical Corp., tried to take shortcuts in its R&D and willfully infringed four patents belong to rival WesternGeco Ltd.

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