From the highest courts of the US judicial branch to the C-suite, contests involving patents have recently come to the fore in the innovation hungry US oilfield services industry, even as filings and litigation have declined in recent years. Seeking out, experimenting with, and ultimately embracing technologies from other industries have proven crucial to innovating at oilfield service firms such as Halliburton, which has tried everything from dog food to submarine tech to improve its work downhole. R&D may be the key to the survival of companies as the new economics of the industry take hold. Even as the oil and gas industry looks for the next great idea to propel it forward, it should constantly reconsider past innovations for inspiration, the CEO of a major operator said Monday on the opening day of 2017 SPE ATCE. The R&D Technical Section dinner at ATCE drew varying perspectives as the panelists discussed, and sometimes debated, a range of approaches to safeguarding industry viability and growth in the years ahead.