14 Jul, 2011

The company’s chief patent counsel has confirmed he will leave Apple Inc soon.


Richard ‘Chip’ Lutton Jr., the man responsible for managing the technology giant’s vast patent portfolio is set to leave the company, having been there for ten years, according to Reuters.

The announcement comes at a time when the manufacturer of products such as the iPhone and iPad is in the midst of several legal battles referring to intellectual property (IP) issues surrounding smartphone patents, mostly with phonemakers and relating to Google’s Android operating system.  

Android has become the world’s No. 1 mobile software platform this year, and legal battles within the mobile phone industry have been on the increase.

In June, along with Microsoft Corp, Research In Motion Ltd (Blackberry manufacturer) and three other companies, Apple outbid Google to acquire a 6,000-strong technology patent portfolio from failed telecoms group Nortel Networks, in a $4.5 billion deal.

In addition, Apple filed a second patent complaint against Taiwanese smartphone company, HTC, with a U.S. trade panel last week, and last month, Apple lost a major legal battle against Nokia.

Intellectual property analyst and blogger, Florian Mueller, according to Reuters said: “I believe Apple’s leadership wants to see results now, especially in connection with Google’s Android system.

“The second complaint against HTC shows that Apple feels it did not handle its patent litigation perfectly in the past.”

It is possible that Lutton will be leaving Apple in the next month, according to reports, and will be replaced by former deputy general counsel at Hewlett-Packard, BJ Watrous.  


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