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 Samsung recently requested that some of Apple’s lawyers, who had previously represented Samsung, be withdrawn from the case due to potential conflicts of interest.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.