Apple's chief patent attorney appears to be leaving company

It would appear that Richard Lutton Jr, or "Chip" as he is known, is on the path to leaving Apple. The report, originally from Reuters, did not go into specifics about the reason for his departure, giving only a rough estimate that Lutton will leave the company sometime "in the next month". Lutton's presumed departure has happened during the middle of a host of different patent suits from the Cupertino company; the most well known of these is likely with Samsung. Apple alleged the company had copied their designs for hardware and were copying the iOS interface with their versions of Android. Samsung then responded to this.

Even last week, Apple tried to prevent Samsung smartphones and tablets from being imported to the United States through the International Trade Commission. Apple called Samsung one of the "principal infringers" against their produce designs. Below is an extract from their complaint:

"Apple's innovations and products have been the subject of widespread imitation by Apple's competitors. Others have attempted to capitalize on Apple's success by copying its innovative technology, distinctive user interface and overall product design."

Yesterday, the company filed a second complaint against HTC. They allege that at least twelve of the devices from the Taiwanese company, including the HTC Flyer tablet, violate Apple's patents. HTC's general counsel, Grace Lei, said the following in a statement directed towards Apple:

"HTC is dismayed that Apple has resorted to competition in the courts rather than the market place. HTC continues to vehemently deny all of Apple's past and present claims against it and will continue to protect and defend its own intellectual property as it has already done this year."

Hewlett-Packard's BJ Watrous is already lined up to replace Lutton when he leaves the company, with his LinkedIn profile showing HP as a past employer, after having joined Apple last month.

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14 Comments

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bjoswald said,
the rest of them smell the scent in the air and pounce on it like rabid dogs. It eventually becomes a race to the patent office and an obnoxious battle that NOBODY wins.

I thought they raced to the patent office BEFORE anyone invented anything. They just patent ideas, not inventions. Then they sue for someone who actually invents something concrete.

spacesurfer said,

I thought they raced to the patent office BEFORE anyone invented anything. They just patent ideas, not inventions. Then they sue for someone who actually invents something concrete.

Hey guess what? That's how a patent works...

Neowin obsess much lately over anything Apple+patent related? It's getting pretty old seeing people say things that are completely false. And yeah I know I don't "have" to read any of it...

Patents are the Achilles Heel of the modern computer industry. Whenever any one company comes up with a good idea, the rest of them smell the scent in the air and pounce on it like rabid dogs. It eventually becomes a race to the patent office and an obnoxious battle that NOBODY wins.

bjoswald said,
Patents are the Achilles Heel of the modern computer industry. Whenever any one company comes up with a good idea, the rest of them smell the scent in the air and pounce on it like rabid dogs. It eventually becomes a race to the patent office and an obnoxious battle that NOBODY wins.

Agree 100%, sadly if you follow patent law in the technology and software world, Apple is the one if not just one of the early companies that got rulings which are the basis for the crap we see today.

Even the famous Apple vs Microsoft, Apple tried to use copyright law to apply patent law, which is one of the reasons it was thrown out. And now Apple is trying to redefine patent law again by apply copyright aspects along with descriptive and sub-text of the patent application.

As for the history of Apple and the mess we are in now, Apple was able to get key precedent rulings that are the bane of the entire industry.

For example, when you see 'look and feel' in copyright and patent lawsuits, this term and later legal percedent was coined by Apple.

Even going back to Apple v. Franklin, it was the first and set the stage a lof of precedent that we are having to deal with today.

When Apple was getting ready for OS X, and was releasing Darwin as 'OSS' to get 'help' from the OSS community, I was like WTH, don't they realize that Apple is a part of the reason they exist in the first place. And nobody seemed to pay attention, or care, and thought Apple was going to be different, which 10 years later we find out they are more secretive and protective of even things that look like them.

And it is sad today to see good meaning OSS proponents use OS X as they like the NeXT and XNU heritage and that it comes from outside Apple, yet OS X is as closed as you can get as an OS, and the company that owns it helped to create the need for the OSS movement to get away from patent and copyright 'ownership' of software code and concepts.

He probably got bored of suing every company that produces a good idea so that Apple could hopefully steal it.

Tom said,
He probably got bored of suing every company that produces a good idea so that Apple could hopefully steal it.
That sounds very similar to another company I know of!