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Apple continuing legal hiring spree as lawsuits mount

post #1 of 23
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On the heels of reports that the company's chief patent counsel is leaving, new job postings reveal that Apple is shopping for lawyers to reinforce its litigation team as the company continues to vigorously defend its intellectual property.

Discovered by AppleInsider, two separate postings for a Sr. Patent Litigation Counsel and Legal Counsel, Litigation appeared on Apple's job board on Friday.

The senior position requires 7-12 years of patent litigation experience and would be involved in "managing and advising the company on significant, complex patent litigation matters." Beyond simply monitoring outside counsel, the in-house attorney would be "engaged in formulating and driving strategy as well as providing counsel to clients at all levels of management on patent litigation matters."

The second litigator role would require the candidate to "supervise and direct outside counsel, manage legal budgets and provide counsel to clients at all levels of management on actual and potential litigation matters, including proposing strategic and creative approaches to resolving disputes."

3-5 years of litigation experience are required for the position, with preferred experience in one or more of the following areas: "class action, trademark, copyright, antitrust, product liability and/or general commercial."

In the posts, Apple describes its legal team as being "supportive and fun" and "friendly and outgoing" as it works "closely together to protect Apple's interests." Both positions appear to be based out of the company's headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.

The job openings come just days after Reuters reported that Apple lead patent counsel Richard "Chip" Lutton is leaving the company. B.J. Watrous, who formerly served as deputy general counsel at Hewlett Packard, will take over as Apple's new Chief Intellectual Property Counsel, according to his LinkedIn profile. According to the report, Apple has been on a "hiring spree" for its intellectual property team, reportedly bringing on litigation specialist Noreen Krall from Sun Microsystems.

Apple's legal team recruitment efforts come as the company has found itself engaged in a number of high-profile patent lawsuits with competitors. Samsung and Apple are currently locked in a tense battle over the Korean electronics giant's alleged infringement of the look and feel of the iPhone and iPad.

Earlier this week, Samsung asked a court to disqualify some of Apple's outside counsel because of an alleged conflict of interest. At least five of the lawyers from one law firm representing Apple previously represented Samsung while with another firm.

Recent indications suggest that the dispute between the companies may have affected their supplier relationship. Apple is reportedly looking to move away from Samsung to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company for orders of its next-generation A6 processors. Early Friday, sources suggested that TSMC has already begun trial manufacturing of the chips and could receive a formal order from Apple, depending on the "yield rate."\t

Apple on Friday won a partial victory in its ongoing dispute with Taiwanese handset maker HTC. A judge for the U.S. International Trade Commission issued an initial ruling that found HTC had violated two of Apple's patents. The decision will be reviewed by the full commission, which has the power to block imports of infringing products.

The iPhone maker first sued HTC last March, specifically highlighting the company's Google Android-based devices. HTC has countered with its own suit, alleging Apple infringed on five of its patents.

Nokia and Apple resolved last month a multi-year legal disagreement, with the iPhone maker agreeing to pay a lump-sum plus ongoing royalties to the Finnish handset maker. The outcome was viewed by industry watcher Florian Mueller as a "sweet defeat" for Apple, as Android smartphone makers may be required to pay more per unit because they lack the bargaining chips that Apple holds.

Apple is also bogged down in litigation against patent licensing companies seeking to extract royalties from the company. Last week, Apple was ordered to pay $8 million in damages to a non-practicing entity over violations to patents related to iPod playlists. The company is also engaged in defending iOS developers against claims from non-practicing entity Lodsys that allege infringement on an in-app purchasing patent.

Apple has said that, regardless of merit, defending itself against patent infringement cases consumes "significant time and expense" for the company, which has become the world's most-sued tech company in recent years.
post #2 of 23
It's funny to read all the trolls berating Apple for fighting back when you read just how much they are having to defend.
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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post #3 of 23
Looking at the patents that htc "violated" is more than enough to prove to me that the software patents are really screwed up.
post #4 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple v. Samsung View Post

Looking at the patents that htc "violated" is more than enough to prove to me that the software patents are really screwed up.

Well lets wait and see what the 6 panel judges say....
post #5 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdonisSMU View Post

Well lets wait and see what the 6 panel judges say....

Some Indian company is now on the move to sue everyone for ip infringement it is getting out of hand and the entire system needs a drastic overhaul.
post #6 of 23
Apple could reduce the number of lawyers needed if they stopped suing everyone on the planet.

So what if Samsung has the look and feel of the iPad. REALLY? So what? People aren't buying the Samsung products at the rate they are buying the iPad. HTC and Android? Give it a rest, Apple!

Apple!!! Make good products "and they will come". Samsung will sell a few of their devices, but you will still make a fortune!!! Stop being so damned worried and greedy. Use your lawyers to defend yourself against unwarranted lawsuits.
post #7 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by lamewing View Post

Apple could reduce the number of lawyers needed if they stopped suing everyone on the planet.

So what if Samsung has the look and feel of the iPad. REALLY? So what? People aren't buying the Samsung products at the rate they are buying the iPad. HTC and Android? Give it a rest, Apple!

Apple!!! Make good products "and they will come". Samsung will sell a few of their devices, but you will still make a fortune!!! Stop being so damned worried and greedy. Use your lawyers to defend yourself against unwarranted lawsuits.

You agree everyone and his dog is suing Apple over anything they can dream up yet you seriously suggest Apple shouldn't protect its IP against a major, foreign, company no less ? Unless you jest and I am missing the joke. Steve didn't live through the experience of the Mac OS being reverse engineered to become Windows not to learn a serious lesson.
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple v. Samsung View Post

Some Indian company is now on the move to sue everyone for ip infringement it is getting out of hand and the entire system needs a drastic overhaul.

The software patent system does seem completely broken, patents need to be restricted to hardware, and properly restricted - none of these thinly veiled 'a device which' patents which actually cover the software on the device.

But it's the state of the law, and it doesn't look like changing until the big players get sick of it. The day we see Google, Apple, MS & Oracle all lobbying for a change is the day we'll have a chance of seeing one.
post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by lamewing View Post

Apple could reduce the number of lawyers needed if they stopped suing everyone on the planet.

So what if Samsung has the look and feel of the iPad. REALLY? So what? People aren't buying the Samsung products at the rate they are buying the iPad. HTC and Android? Give it a rest, Apple!

Apple!!! Make good products "and they will come". Samsung will sell a few of their devices, but you will still make a fortune!!! Stop being so damned worried and greedy. Use your lawyers to defend yourself against unwarranted lawsuits.

The Samsung litigation is far more reasonable, the patents are extremely narrow, specific and would have been easy to avoid infringing.

A good test of whether IP is 'reasonable' from a societal viewpoint is the question, 'is accidental infringement likely?'. In the case of the HTC patents, it frankly is - in the case of the Samsung patents it isn't. Do you really think that Samsung would have created a device that looked like the 10.1 tablet if they'd never seen an iPad? They even went back to the drawing board and redesigned it after the iPad-2 was released!

Samsung's infringement is extreme, and Apple will probably nail them to the wall over it. If you want to pick an android maker to stick up for, I'd go with HTC.
post #10 of 23
Wired has a very good article on the state of patent litigation.
http://www.wired.co.uk/magazine/arch...s-rim?page=all

In a nutshell it's opined that there is no way today to develop a new mobile device that doesn't infringe on some patent(s). In general the tech companies had a gentleman's agreement: Don't sue me and I won't sue you. Cross-licensing was common, with licensing fees a very significant percentage of the overall device production costs.

Sadly that's changed. Read thru the entire article, particularly the section that suggests why the Apple/Nokia suit took place.
melior diabolus quem scies
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melior diabolus quem scies
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post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

In a nutshell it's opined that there is no way today to develop a new mobile device that doesn't infringe on some patent(s).

They should probably have expiry timeframes that reflect the market the patent is in. Considering the whole mobile phone industry is less than 40 years old, 20 year patent expiry times seem a bit long. Maybe just 10 years.

Generic patents are supposed to be excluded but there should perhaps be a better definition used for 'generic'.

Lastly, much stricter regulations need to be imposed on non-practising entities.

Apple should be in a very strong position. The mobile phone market was saturated with the same types of devices, no innovation, just a very poor experience in general. The capacitive multi-touch input method with the glass screen, the gestures, the navigation layout was all extremely well thought out and no one had anything like this. Even just 2-3 years later, everyone had been changing their devices to go this route and Apple deserve to have their innovation protected.

Samsung has blatantly ripped off their designs in so many way - the Galaxy Tab, the Galaxy S, the Series 9 laptop and Google clearly followed their lead on the software front. They need to be called up for this and forced to license from Apple or change/discontinue their products.
post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

Do you really think that Samsung would have created a device that looked like the 10.1 tablet if they'd never seen an iPad? They even went back to the drawing board and redesigned it after the iPad-2 was released!


Your arguing a very fine line of competition vs "infrginement".

Using your logic, everything that was ever created in this world would be regarded as an "infringement".

How do you make the distinction between a competitors product being a competitor versus one that is infringing on others?

What is the threshold? How do you define it?

What you see in your eyes varies with what others see. You may say a color looks brown, theywill say the color looks dark yellow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


Samsung has blatantly ripped off their designs in so many way - the Galaxy Tab, the Galaxy S, the Series 9 laptop and Google clearly followed their lead on the software front. They need to be called up for this and forced to license from Apple or change/discontinue their products.

That determination will be the courts.

"Like I said before, share price will dip into the $400."  - 11/21/12 by Galbi

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"Like I said before, share price will dip into the $400."  - 11/21/12 by Galbi

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post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galbi View Post

Your arguing a very fine line of competition vs "infrginement".

No - i'm not. I'm saying that it's extremely easy to look at a design patent and see exactly what it describes, even as a non-designer - and it's frequently very hard to read a software patent and know what it describes even as a programmer.

I'm saying that if infringement can occur trivially with no knowledge of the patent then the patent isn't serving any societally useful function - whereas if any likely infringement is intentional, then the patent is serving the intended purpose of protecting innovation, instead of blocking it.
post #14 of 23
Their going to have to add another floor to that new space age building just for the Patent Lawyers.
post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple v. Samsung View Post

Some Indian company is now on the move to sue everyone for ip infringement it is getting out of hand and the entire system needs a drastic overhaul.

Hey I think there's an App for that.
post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by lamewing View Post

Apple could reduce the number of lawyers needed if they stopped suing everyone on the planet.

So what if Samsung has the look and feel of the iPad. REALLY? So what? People aren't buying the Samsung products at the rate they are buying the iPad. HTC and Android? Give it a rest, Apple!

Apple!!! Make good products "and they will come". Samsung will sell a few of their devices, but you will still make a fortune!!! Stop being so damned worried and greedy. Use your lawyers to defend yourself against unwarranted lawsuits.

Which Planet ?
post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fast Fred 1 View Post

Their going to have to add another floor to that new space age building just for the Patent Lawyers.

They'll build an office in East Texas just for them
post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

They should probably have expiry timeframes that reflect the market the patent is in. Considering the whole mobile phone industry is less than 40 years old, 20 year patent expiry times seem a bit long. Maybe just 10 years.

Generic patents are supposed to be excluded but there should perhaps be a better definition used for 'generic'.

Lastly, much stricter regulations need to be imposed on non-practising entities.

Apple should be in a very strong position. The mobile phone market was saturated with the same types of devices, no innovation, just a very poor experience in general. The capacitive multi-touch input method with the glass screen, the gestures, the navigation layout was all extremely well thought out and no one had anything like this. Even just 2-3 years later, everyone had been changing their devices to go this route and Apple deserve to have their innovation protected.

Samsung has blatantly ripped off their designs in so many way - the Galaxy Tab, the Galaxy S, the Series 9 laptop and Google clearly followed their lead on the software front. They need to be called up for this and forced to license from Apple or change/discontinue their products.

Great clear concise post . I agree apple should have a strong offense here defending it self ,


9
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beatles
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whats in a name ? 
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post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

They'll build an office in East Texas just for them

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post #20 of 23
We have more lawyers than any other profession. This patent litigation is the result of one massive make work project. Until America wakes up and starts producing more engineers and doctors, they will just keep on this downhill slope to obscurity.

They could start by taxing awards to patent trolls at 105%. That way it would cost them to win!!
post #21 of 23
Given the strong opinions here, maybe some of us should apply to Apple.

post #22 of 23
These people doing patent trolling should be found guilty of treason and shot by the government. I do not advocate violence, merely civility and good citizenship. Surely a field could be fertilized with their remains?
post #23 of 23
"Apple shopping for lawyers"

If they're smart, they'll go to Lawmart. Which is Walmart spelled sideways.
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