Apple chief patent lawyer to leave; likely replaced by former HP deputy general counsel

“Apple Inc’s chief patent counsel will soon leave the company, at a time when the iPhone maker is fighting numerous legal battles around the world, according to a source familiar with the situation,” Dan Levine and Poornima Gupta report for Reuters. “Apple is engaged in an expanding web of litigation concerning smartphone patents, mostly with phonemakers using Google’s rival Android software.”

“It was unclear why Richard ‘Chip’ Lutton Junior, who manages the iPhone maker’s patent portfolio, is leaving the company,” Levine and Gupta report. “However, BJ Watrous, a former deputy general counsel with Hewlett Packard, is now listed as Apple’s chief IP counsel on Watrous’s LinkedIn web page.”

MacDailyNews Take: BJ replaces Chip. Is this a legal department or a ’70s sitcom after a contract dispute?

Levine and Gupta report, “Lutton’s voicemail was still set up at Apple on Monday, but he will be leaving Apple soon, perhaps in the next month, said the source familiar with the situation. Watrous was deputy general counsel at Hewlett-Packard in charge of IP licensing. Apple’s intellectual property team has been on a hiring spree lately, snapping up litigation specialist Noreen Krall from Sun Microsystems.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Brawndo Drinker” for the heads up.]


  1. With HP’s rampant copying of the MBP in its Envy line of notebooks, it might turn out better for the ex-HP general counsel to defend against patent infringement lawsuits rather than litigate it. For sure he won’t have much experience litigating because no one breaches HP’s patents, there being none to begin with. HP, the inventor of plastic encrusted crap.

    1. Get out of Apple land much?

      HP has a LOT of patents, they even have a dedicated IP licensing division and offer packages of their patents for sale.

      Everything from Ink transfer patents for printing, to memory interconnects on motherboards to LAN/WAN networking technologies.

  2. How I missed this one I have no idea… I was wondering why I hadn’t seen anything internally from BJ this month…

    Yes, HP is SO MUCH MORE than just a PC manufacturer. We are #2 in the network space, just behind Cisco, and gaining market share on them every day. In the IPG (Imaging and Printing Group) our high end (not the PC) printers are among the best in the industry, catering to high-end photography and publication companies. And our services are among the best in the industry (and I’m not talking about PC consumer support).

    Now, that said, I’m still a Mac guy when it comes to Mac vs Windoze…

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