Qualcomm Changes Law Firm Again

LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – For the second time this year, Qualcomm has replaced the Silicon Valley law firm that was representing the wireless giant in a major patent infringement dispute.

At one level, the move to replace the Cupertino law firm of Day Casebeer Madrid & Batchelder was a minor procedural matter in a lawsuit Qualcomm filed against Nokia two years ago.
San Diego federal Judge Roger Benitez signed an order Tuesday that approved Qualcomm’s request to substitute Steven Strauss as its lead attorney in the case. Strauss is a partner in the San Diego office of Cooley Godward Kronish.

But the switch also offers more fodder in the continuing saga of “The Qualcomm 14” – the 14 lawyers who face judicial sanctions for misconduct that was detailed in a 54-page ruling by U.S. District Judge Rudi Brewster.

Brewster ordered the 14 lawyers to face a sanctions hearing, scheduled for next month, after presiding over a separate patent lawsuit that Qualcomm filed against Broadcom, a rival chipmaker in Irvine.

Nine of the 14 lawyers facing sanctions were from Day Casebeer, including James Batchelder, who led Qualcomm legal team in both cases. The other five were from the Heller Ehrman law firm, including San Diego partners David Kleinfeld and Barry Tucker.

A federal jury deliberated six hours before finding that Broadcom not only did not infringe on two Qualcomm patents, but that Qualcomm also had withheld patent information from official patent bodies.

In the months after the trial, Qualcomm acknowledged it had not produced 230,000 pages of internal e-mails and other relevant evidence for the trial.

Judge Brewster cited the Qualcomm 14’s “inexplicable” failure to find such material in his August ruling, which found “exceptional” misconduct and ordered Qualcomm to pay Broadcom’s legal fees in the case.

Qualcomm later announced that general counsel Lou Lupin had resigned. The wireless giant named Carol Lam, San Diego’s former U.S. Attorney, as acting general counsel.

The company also hired San Diego trial lawyer Bill Boggs and the DLA Piper law firm to replace Day Casebeer as attorneys of record in that case.

In a notice filed earlier this month, Boggs signaled his intent to appeal Brewster’s ruling.

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