Apple Patent Lawyer Walks As HTC Becomes Next Victim of An Apple Lawsuit

Apple Patent Lawyer Walks As HTC Becomes Next Victim of An Apple Lawsuit

Photo by lambdachialpha - http://flic.kr/p/iR9Qu

It seems that you can’t call yourself a major tech company these days unless you’re involved in a patent dispute with Apple. Its ongoing spat with Samsung continues to hit the headlines, and the company has just made HTC its next victim of a patent infringement lawsuit… so why is Apple’s chief counsel on patent issues leaving the company with still so much left to do?

Richard ‘Chip’ Lutton Jr. is set to leave the Cupertino company, according to a new Reuters report, with BJ Watrous, a former deputy general counsel with HP taking his place. Lutton’s reasons for walking are currently unclear, but many are speculating Apple’s two major patent disputes with Samsung and HTC could be behind it.

Seemingly looking for a little more courtroom action, last week, Apple added HTC to the firing line, filing a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission in an attempt to block imports of HTC’s Flyer tablet and Android smartphones over alleged patent infringement.

HTC was understandably unhappy with Apple’s actions. Its general counsel, Grace Lei, said in a statement:

HTC is disappointed at Apple’s constant attempts at litigations instead of competing fairly in the market.

HTC strongly denies all infringement claims raised by Apple in the past and present and reiterates our determination and commitment to protect our intellectual property rights.

Meanwhile, the company’s collection of legal disputes with Samsung continue to escalate, with both companies filing opposing complaints against one another in a number of courts around the world. Samsung recently requested that some of Apple’s lawyers, who had previously represented Samsung, be withdrawn from the case due to potential conflicts of interest.

It’s unclear at this time, however, whether either of these cases are the reason behind Lutton’s decision to leave Apple, and he has declined to comment on the reports. An Apple representative has also declined to comment.

[via MacRumors]

  • elliottstanger

    Competing fairly in the market? Apple came out with the tech first, patented the tech first, and HTC/Samsung/everyone else copied it. How is that fair?

  • Iphoneication

    HTC is not a new lawsuit. the original suite was filed almost a year ago, So HTC is not a new victim by any means, it just means there is litigation ongoing!

  • jeanlouisnguyen

    I bet that lawyer also gets a nice departure bonus. Litigation in the US has become a more profitable business than tech.

  • lwdesign1

    I dislike the tone of this article, giving the impression that Apple is banging out lawsuits just because it can. I’ve been amazed that Apple has shown so much restraint over the last few years in regards to the flagrant copying that has been done of the iPhone and iPad. These 2 iconic devices have paved the way for all the other wannabe smartphone and tablet producers, and despite slight differences in their interfaces, they’re all simply copies of the incredible R&D of what Apple has done. Prior to the iPhone, there was no phone that was all screen on the front, without a physical keyboard. Now there are scores of them, all mimicking the iPhone. Prior to the iPad, no one had made a successful tablet. Now all the “competitors'” tablets look nearly identical to the iPad. I’m surprised Apple has waited this long to sue. Apple’s hardware design has been been at the cutting edge of development for years, and with the runaway success of the iPod, iPhone and iPad, other manufacturers have simply copied tons of ideas from these products without any licensing fees to Apple. It’s good to see Apple standing up for its technical innovations. Note to wannabes: Why not do some innovation of your own for Apple to copy, then do a mutual licensing agreement.

  • JShep4815

    Agree, I believe it was one of the early Samsung products that had the phone and message app icons that looked exactly like Apple’s, that’s what pushed me over the edge. This problem isn’t unique to Apple either; plenty of other tech companies have legitimate claims to their patents being infringed upon. You really can’t call yourself a major tech company until you’ve been involved in some sort of litigation with every other tech company and subjected to some sort of government investigation. That’s just how the tech world turns.

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About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a staff writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also covers Android over at CultofAndroid.com. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell.

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