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Apple's Patent Portfolio Manager Exiting as HTC and Samsung Disputes Simmer

While Apple finds itself embroiled in a number of intellectual property disputes both on both offensive and defensive fronts, Reuters reports that Chip Lutton, who oversees the company's significant patent portfolio, will be leaving the company. Lutton is apparently being replaced by HP lawyer BJ Watrous.
It was unclear why Richard "Chip" Lutton Junior, who manages the iPhone maker's patent portfolio, is leaving the company.

However, BJ Watrous, a former deputy general counsel with Hewlett Packard, is now listed as Apple's chief IP counsel on Watrous's LinkedIn web page.
Two of Apple's highest-profile patent disputes involve HTC and Samsung, major players in the smartphone market who primarily rely on Google's Android operating system. Apple and HTC have been embroiled in a dispute dating back well over a year, but several developments over the past week indicate that the situation is heating up. Last week, HTC agreed to acquire S3 Graphics, a firm which just days earlier had won a preliminary patent judgment against Apple, potentially giving HTC more ammunition in its fight against Apple.


And just two days after that, Apple filed a new complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) seeking to blocking imports of HTC's Flyer tablets and Droid smartphones over alleged patent infringement. As noted by AFP, HTC has denied the allegations and expressed its displeasure that Apple has chosen to compete in the courts rather than letting things play out in the market.
"HTC is disappointed at Apple's constant attempts at litigations instead of competing fairly in the market," said HTC general counsel Grace Lei in a statement.

"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," she said.
The situation with Samsung continues to escalate as well, with the two sides filing opposing complaints with the ITC over the past couple of weeks seeking to have imports of each others' mobile products blocked. Samsung has also asked that at least some of Apple's lawyers be removed from the case due to potential conflicts of interest and confidentiality concerns given that a number of Apple's lawyers had previously represented Samsung.

The dispute between Apple and Samsung, one of Apple's major suppliers in addition to being a significant competitor, holds major implications for both companies, with Apple reportedly considering a shakeup of its suppliers in order to reduce its reliance on Samsung.

Top Rated Comments

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36 months ago

Apple is officially a patent troll. :rolleyes:


:rolleyes: Sigh. Words seem to have lost meaning to some people.

A patent troll is a company who does not make products, like Lodsys, who uses their patents to go after other companies just for money.

Apple is either using patents to protect it's business or to drive others out of business.

Driving others out of business is not necessarily bad. If they own legit patents, it is totally fair to drive others who are doing illegal activities out of business.
Rating: 11 Positives
36 months ago

hehe - as if any of them 'play fair'


Exactly, Apple infringed S3's patents and HTC now onws S3. Apple is the one cheating.

Apple is officially a patent troll. :rolleyes:
Rating: 10 Positives
36 months ago
When Microsoft tries to make a deal with HTC -- everything's fine.

When Apple does it -- HTC denies. When Apple sues -- HTC denies. When Apple files a complaint -- HTC denies. So basically, even if HTC wants to infringe, they can just infringe and keep denying patent infringement claims and then report to the press - "Apple needs to compete".

When Microsoft tries to make Android as a multi-billion dollar business, every thing's fine. When Apple tries to make up a deal, then Apple is a patent troll.

Some people need to get their heads out of their asses and understand that Apple has a valid and quite complex patent portfolio. Instead of coming to the press and talking fanboy stuff, defend the patents or license them.

Apple does try to be a bitch sometimes, but to me it looks like Apple is the one who is trying to rigorously compete and defend its IP.

@HTC: Defending the IP or in simple terms litigation is counter-competitive? Just license the patents and move on. No need to turn the press sideways.
Rating: 7 Positives
36 months ago
That's because Microsoft is ONLY going after a specific IP used in Android. Apple is trying to go after just about anyone who uses a touch-screen device, trying to stop them from selling their device, and being a bully about it.

One's acting like they're protecting their IP, the other's being a troll.
Rating: 7 Positives
36 months ago

I wonder if Chip was burnt out? or thrown out?

I'd wager the latter. Failing to check out the new consulting attorneys for possible conflict of interest could cost Apple their most important case against their biggest competitor. Understandable since he's so overworked, but costly just the same.
Rating: 6 Positives
36 months ago
This new guys going to be busy. Hope hes good at his job. With a name like BJ im sure he doesn't suck
Rating: 6 Positives
36 months ago

When Microsoft tries to make Android as a multi-billion dollar business, every thing's fine. When Apple tries to make up a deal, then Apple is a patent troll.


What deal? Has anyone ever heard of Apple licensing its patents to competitors? (Besides the court mandated sharing between Apple and MS.)

Microsoft offered to license its patents and provide protection for those using them. HTC and others see that as a benefit, even if not all the MS patents are applicable.

Apple does not offer licenses for its patents, preferring instead to try to stop competitors from even selling their devices. Naturally, all the companies being sued are going to fight Apple's patent claims.

It's a huge difference in approach.
Rating: 6 Positives
36 months ago

"HTC strongly denies all infringement claims raised by Apple in the past and present"


Then why oh why didn't any of the competing phones exist the way they do now before the iPhone? Everybody knows they copied the iPhone, HTC was famous for being one of the many teams out there ready to start copying the day after the iPhone was released. Oh and yes I know, someone will dismiss this as fanboi talk when the reality is, before the iPhone all we had was a crappy windows mobile. I gave my ipaq to a friend, it sucked.

Patents or not, before the iPhone nobody knew what to do with all the tech and make it user friendly. now they know how they want to sue the goose that laid the golden iEgg.

All pretty pathetic really but oh well.
Rating: 6 Positives
36 months ago
Man, this is getting ugly.


I wonder if Apple would be suing people if the iphone was selling as well as Android devices.



I know I'm just feeding the troll here, but what Android device is selling better than the iPhone? Which ONE Android device is outselling the iPhone?
Rating: 5 Positives
36 months ago

Actually, they are seeking an injunction against the Galaxy II s, and Tablet.


Yes, plus some. Apple's lawsuit against Samsung (http://cdn0.sbnation.com/podcasts/apple-samsung-lawsuit.pdf) objects to more than just the Galaxy models:

"Samsung has imported into or sold in the United States the following products, each of which infringes one or more of Apple’s Intellectual Property Rights: the Samsung Captivate, Continuum, Vibrant, Galaxy S 4G, Epic 4G, Indulge, Mesmerize, Showcase, Fascinate, Nexus S, Gem, Transform, Intercept, and Acclaim smart phones and the Samsung Galaxy Tab tablet." - Apple

Apple later ammended their lawsuit and added even more phones: The Droid Charge, Galaxy Ace, Galaxy Prevail, Galaxy S (i9000), Gravity, Infuse 4G, Nexus S 4G, Replenish, Sidekick, Galaxy Tab 10.1, and Galaxy S II.

As PC Magazine pointed out (http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2383820,00.asp), "... Apple also cites the Samsung Epic, Transform, Intercept and Acclaim — all of which have gigantic slide-out QWERTY keyboards, which absolutely nobody would ever mistake for an iPhone. The Samsung Gem is a different shape, and has several buttons at the bottom. And the Samsung Continuum has a whole extra display along the bottom bezel."
Rating: 5 Positives

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