Apple Preps for Mobile Phone Patent Battles with Legal Heavyweights

Lora Bentley
Slide Show

Smartphones That Work for Business

With the flack over Apple's claims that much of the sexiest smartphone tech falls under its patents, our Carl Weinschenk looks at the best mobile tech on the market today.

The International Trade Commission will hear arguments this week in the mobile phone patent battle between Apple and Nokia, according to Bloomberg. The ITC also announced not long ago it will hear the patent dispute between Apple and Motorola. As such, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company is beefing up its legal department to get ready.

 

Bloomberg reports Apple CEO Steve Jobs has been recruiting big name lawyers. General Counsel Bruce Sewell came to Apple in 2009 after 15 years at Intel. The company also recently added former Sun Microsystems and IBM attorney Noreen Krall as in-house counsel focusing on intellectual property.

 

Moreover, the list of outside counsel includes:

Robert Krupka of Kirkland & Ellis, who negotiated a 2005 settlement [between Apple and] Creative Technology Ltd.; William Lee of WilmerHale in Boston, who successfully represented Broadcom ... against Qualcomm; and Matt Powers of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, who successfully defended the patent on the ... asthma drug Singulair.

Of the ITC battles on the horizon, Lyle Vander Schaaf, an attorney at Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione in Washington, said, "Usually you have one 800-pound gorilla going after a new entrant. Here you've got 800-pound gorillas fighting each other." Steve Perlman, CEO of online game company OnLive, agrees, pointing to the rapid increase in smartphone popularity as the root cause of the patent disputes between the large companies. "We're seeing a clash of the titans," he said.


 

In a perfect world, all companies involved would reach an agreement to license each other's technologies. Unfortunately, the world we live in is far from perfect.



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