While Apple wages war over patents on a number of different fronts against Google’s Android, a new report claims that the company’s chief patent attorney is planning to leave the company soon, in what can only be considered bad timing.
Reuters is reporting that Apple Inc. chief patent counsel Richard “Chip” Lutton, Jr. is planning to leave the company soon, just as Cupertino’s “expanding web of litigation concerning smartphone patents” continues to get larger and more complex. Lutton still had voicemail set up at Apple as of Monday, but is expected to leave within the next month, according to sources familiar with the situation.
Taking Lutton’s place is a former deputy general counsel with Hewlett Packard, B.J. Watrous, who is now listed as Apple’s chief IP counsel on his LinkedIn profile. Neither Lutton nor Watrous were available for comment on the matter, and spokesman for both Apple Inc. and HP also declined to comment.
Apple is fighting patent battles worldwide, primarily against manufacturers using Google’s Android operating system, including litigation against HTC and Samsung for aping the look and feel of the iPhone. Ironically, Samsung Electronics is also one of Apple’s key hardware suppliers, which is likely making for some uncomfortable meetings of late.
Cupertino will need all the muscle it can to defend itself against contenders to the iOS throne. Among Apple’s other intellectual property hires of late is former Sun Microsystems litigation specialist Noreen Krail.
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