Apple's Lawyers Used To Be Samsung's, And Samsung Doesn't Like It

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Perhaps Apple is trying to pull a fast one, or maybe Samsung is grasping at straws, but either way: Samsung has requested that Apple’s outside legal team be removed from the case, citing a conflict of interest.

In a nutshell, Apple’s outside counsel, a group of attorneys from the firm Bridges & Mavrakakis, have worked closely with Samsung in the past. Of course, that doesn’t sit well with the South Korea-based company, who believes that the B & M lawyers have “privileged and confidential” information about Samsung’s patent strategy and products, which could easily be used in Apple’s favor during their ongoing copycat suit.

With a client like Apple on the books, the Bridges & Mavrakakis team has made a real effort to quell concerns. The team claims that technology evolves so quickly that the time spent on Samsung’s side of the battle line is basically irrelevant now, and that “prior representation of Samsung was not substantially related to the current matter.” Samsung argues that the “prior representation” Bridges & Mavrakakis is referring to was actually early 2011. Back then, Samsung was in the trenches with Sony Ericsson over a patent that has since been added to the Apple countersuit. Bridges & Mavrakakis lawyers investigated said patent.

Here’s what Samsung had to say in its motion:
“Samsung is confronted with the incredulous situation of now finding these former trusted counsel working on behalf of Apple. Over the years, these attorneys not only provided Samsung with in-depth legal advice regarding global litigation strategy, but also detailed technical analysis of Samsung mobile devices. Their work included preparing and overseeing claim construction charts, working with experts, coordinating with Samsung’s in-house and business teams to craft strategy and develop facts relating to patent litigation about Samsung’s mobile devices, including fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory term (‘FRAND’) arguments, analyzing Samsung’s patent portfolio relating to mobile technology, and reviewing technical specifications and other documents, including privileged documents relating to Samsung’s mobile technology patents. Through their representation of Samsung, these attorneys obtained unfettered access and insights into Samsung’s approach to patent litigation.”

Along with dumping the Bridge & Mavrakakis crew, Samsung wants Apple’s other outside counsel to get the ax, too. If the B & M lawyers were working on a team with other outside counsel, from firms such as Morrison & Foerster and Wilmer Hale, then of course whatever “privileged and confidential” information Bridge & Mavrakakis was privy to will be shared knowledge across Apple’s whole team. There’s no telling how Apple will respond to this, although our guess would be a full-on fight to keep the team around.

[via FOSS Patents]