Bloomberg News

Google Loses Bid to Disqualify Lawyers Suing Android Partners

February 15, 2012

Feb. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Google Inc., the largest maker of smartphone software, lost a bid to have a law firm it hired to help obtain patents barred from working with rivals that are pursuing infringement claims on the company’s Android system.

Google sought to disqualify Pepper Hamilton LLP from representing Alexandria, Virginia-based Digitude Innovations LLC in a patent lawsuit that targets makers of Android-based phones, including HTC Corp. and Samsung Electronics Co. Members of the same law firm have worked on behalf of Google on the Mountain View, California-based company’s patent submissions for Android.

“Google offers no evidence regarding how Google’s business interests will be harmed through this litigation,” U.S. International Trade Commission Judge Robert Rogers in Washington said in a decision today.

Pepper Hamilton has pledged not to question any Google witnesses and it’s set up an “ethical screen” to keep lawyers who are working on behalf of Digitude in Washington and Boston from accessing confidential information related to Google’s patents. The lawyers working on Google’s patent applications are in Delaware and Pennsylvania, the judge said.

“I find that the actions taken by Pepper Hamilton serve as a reasonable precaution to keep the confidential information of Google and Digitude separate,” Rogers wrote.

Rogers said separately today that a trial in the Digitude case will be held in January 2013, and he plans to issue his findings in March 2013.

The case is In the Matter of Certain Portable Communication Devices, 337-827, U.S. International Trade Commission (Washington).

--Editor: Romaine Bostick

To contact the reporter on this story: Susan Decker in Washington at sdecker1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Shepard at mshepard7@bloomberg.net


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