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Bloomberg News

Apple General Counsel Sewell Becomes Protector of Jobs’s Vision

October 06, 2011

(For more coverage on Jobs’s passing, see EXT5<GO>.)

Oct. 6 (Bloomberg) -- If Steve Jobs was the creative force that made Apple Inc.’s products hip, General Counsel Bruce Sewell is the authority in keeping competitors from copying those ideas.

Hired from Intel Corp. in 2009, Sewell, 52, has led Apple’s fight against mobile devices running Google Inc.’s Android operating system in lawsuits spanning four continents. His biggest role has been in coordinating the Cupertino, California- based company’s legal strategy against Android customers Samsung Electronics Co., Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. and HTC Corp.

Before Sewell, Apple rarely filed lawsuits, typically only targeting small companies making unapproved accessories for Mac computers or, as with the case against Nokia Oyj, retaliating for a suit against it. Then came the iPhone.

Jobs unveiled the iPhone in 2007, saying Apple had applied for more than 200 patents for the device and was ready to enforce them. Within six months of being hired in 2009, Sewell put those words into action when the company filed its first pro-active patent-infringement suit against an Android handset maker, seeking an order to ban some phones made by Taoyuan, Taiwan-based HTC from the U.S.

Since then, Apple also has sued to stop sales of Samsung’s Galaxy phone and tablets, claiming the products “slavishly” copy the iPhone and iPad.

Intel Antitrust Case

A 1979 graduate of Lancaster University in the U.K. with a law degree from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., Sewell joined the law firm Brown & Bain in 1986. In 1995, he started at Intel, becoming general counsel a decade later.

While at Intel, Sewell was in charge of defending against antitrust cases that accused the Santa Clara, California-based company of giving computer makers discounts in exchange for promises to use Intel chips exclusively.

Sewell’s relationship with Apple goes back almost a decade. While at Intel’s business unit, he and Intel’s current chief executive officer, Paul Otellini, led two years of negotiations that prompted Apple to start using Intel microprocessors in its computers.

--Editors: Romaine Bostick, Niamh Ring

To contact the reporter on this story: Susan Decker in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Kevin Miller at; Allan Holmes at

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