Opinions and Editorials

Apr. 26, 2024

Dallas Morning News: Texas’ oil and gas patents need protection from infringement by Robert “Reeves” Dalton

A weakened patent system is making it harder for energy companies to protect innovations.

When people think of cutting-edge innovation, they’re likely to gravitate to fields like computing, medical devices and consumer products, and understandably so. But, there is actually more patenting going on in the energy sector of our economy than any other. In fact, according to a GlobalData report there were more than 534,000 patents filed and granted within the oil and gas sector in just the last three years.

Much of this innovation is being driven by an industry under pressure to maximize production and at the same time cut operation costs, reduce emissions and improve safety. Given that the Lone Star State produces 43% of crude oil in the U.S, it should come as no surprise that a significant number of oil and gas-related patent applications are filed by Texas-based innovators.

The importance of these oil and gas-related patents to the Texas economy can’t be overstated. More than 480,000 Texans are employed in this sector, earning an average of $124,000 per year — nearly twice the average paid by the rest of Texas’ private sector. In all, oil and gas production directly and indirectly puts more than 1.37 million Texans to work.

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