With a large number of fairly public lawsuits on the go, now might not be the best time for Apple to see an integral part of their legal team leave the company for greener pastures, but it sounds like it may just be happening anyway. According to a report from Reuters, Richard “Chip” Lutton Junior is leaving the company, and he could be replaced by BJ Watrous, former deputy general counsel with Hewlett Packard.
Lutton was responsible for overseeing Apple’s patent portfolio, a job that has seen its share of litigation in the last couple of months. Just yesterday we reported that Apple has filed a new complaint against HTC with the ITC over a patent dispute. S3 is suing Apple for a similar reason. Then there are lawsuits o going regarding the App Store naming convention with both Amazon and Microsoft. Heck, all of this was before Apple managed to pick up another $4.5 billion in Nortel patents with a consortium consisting of RIM, Microsoft, Sony, and others, with the notable exception of Google.
If the last six months are any indicator, patent disputes seem to be on a major upswing in the industry, so the move comes at a fairly contentious time in the industry.
Also, as an aside, we’re thinking about changing the name of the website from Macgasm to Legalgasm. What do you think?