Apple betrayed by its own law firm: Lawyer-turned-‘troll’ started planning patent suit six days after iPhone launch

“When a company called FlatWorld Interactives LLC filed suit against Apple just over a year ago, it looked like a typical ‘patent troll’ lawsuit against a tech company, brought by someone who no longer had much of a business beyond lawsuits,” Joe Mullin reports for Ars Technica.

“Court documents unsealed this week reveal who’s behind FlatWorld, and it’s anything but typical. FlatWorld is partly owned by the named inventor on the patents, a Philadelphia design professor named Slavko Milekic. But 35 percent of the company has been quietly controlled by an attorney at one of Apple’s own go-to law firms, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius,” Mullin reports. “E-mail logs show that the attorney, John McAleese, worked together with his wife and began planning a wide-ranging patent attack against Apple’s touch-screen products in January 2007—just days after the iPhone was revealed to the world.”

Mullin reports, “Jennifer McAleese reached out to numerous ‘troll patent’ companies, as she called them, convinced that she and Milekic had an ‘excellent position against Apple’ if and when they chose to sue. She e-mailed top patent lawyers at Google and Nokia, competitors known to be in patent clashes with Apple. The whole time she was advised by her husband, a lawyer who had access to reams of confidential Apple data — but who says he never touched it. (Apple doesn’t see it that way.)”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: This guy must have sworn his lawyer’s oath in the state of Betrayal.

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

45 Comments

    1. Apple is lucky that, as corporation, they could not be criminally prosecuted for this, because this —

      “E-mail logs show that the attorney, John McAleese, worked together with his wife and began planning a wide-ranging patent attack against Apple’s touch-screen products in January 2007—just days after the iPhone was revealed to the world”

      — reminded me of family of accusers of Michael Jackson, which were shopping for civil money lawyers three years (!) before even meeting the artist. Then they accused him of molestation, in showing pornography magazines that did not even exist at the time line, attempt of abduction to Brazil via hot air balloon, and many more crazy things.

      Overall, none of MJ’s few accuser families were credible, all were registered to commit frauds, theft, selling made up stories to tabloids for hundreds of thousand of dollars, always sought for civil money litigation, using the same set of lawyers (though once Gloria Allred was used).

      The world is full of greedy crooks, and even giant corporations like Apple will always be back-stabbed.

      1. Stop repeating the Jackson camp’s smear campaign bullshit. Jackson was a child molester and should have been tried and convicted as such. At the very least he was a pederast and his name should forever be connected with his indefensible behaviour.

        1. That is not “Jackson camp smear campaign bullshit”, this is court materials. You have to have incredibly devastating accusers and witnesses to have jurors voting 144 times no against every single account, even minor ones, with all of the years of media brainwashing of people like you, who know very little about the actual cases but all of sudden have religiously strong zealot over the matter.

    1. Baloney. There are plenty of people who only look for how they can make a huge amount of money in all kinds of professions, unfortunately.

      I think there are plenty of bank executives that could be added to this list, for one.

  1. Leaving an R&D iPhone in a bar was funnier. This guy and his wife needs to meet the rest of Apple’s lawyers. This patent troll scum is going to give the rest of the legal team a really bad reputation. It is like getting advice from a doctor that is lining up organ transplants in the other room. The other lawyers need to really take this idiot down.

  2. Seems like a devious instance of industrial espionage, or sabotage, or robbery, or Brutus impersonation. Tends to lower one’s esteem for corporate lawyers

    1. There are rumours about ethical lawyers so there could actually be one.

      The rule of law is a great social device and will make us truly free when we subscribe to it. Unfortunately, lawyers think it is their job to help clients to avoid taking responsibility for the client’s misdeeds.

    1. What a stupid comment. The vast majority of lawyers are very ethical, but the public misconstrues a lawyer doing his job in representing his client with doing something wrong or unethical.

      This lawyer will get disbarred for his actions. Amazing, because I’m sure he made very good money working for that major patent law firm.

      1. This fellow was despicable in his intentions and actions. He went beyond gaming the system, and entered into conspiracy territory. The case will not argued on ethical principles, but should be. It is parasites like him that erode the moral underpinning of law and the health of the overall economy.

        1. Only those like Thomas Moore, Alexander Hamilton, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, Sam Houston, Abraham Lincoln, Clarence Darrow, Thurgood Marshall, William O Douglas, etc, etc.

          Of course on the opposite side there’s Ann Coulter.

            1. The first living lawyers who come to my mind are John Engler, the former farmer, governor of MI, and now president of the Business Roundtable and John Roberts.

              And just like Ann Coulter for the opposition before, we also have Clarence Thomas.

            2. that’s the good news, the bad news is:

              According to the American Bar Association, there were 1,116, 967 licensed attorneys in June of 2006. The number rose to 1,128,729 by the end of 2006, and grew to 1,143,358 by the end of 2007.

            3. According to the BLS, only 60% of those are practicing lawyers, the rest are “inactive.” And 40% of the practicing lawyers live/work in (in order)
                  1. California
                  2. New York
                  3. Florida
                  4. Texas
                  5. D.C.
              Cut out D.C. and it’s 35%.

              “Why is Texas so high?” you ask. Well, East Texas is patent troll heaven. Which ties us back to the original thread… 😆

      2. “The vast majority of lawyers are very ethical…”

        I’m sure this is true but, just like the police who deal with similar image issues, lawyers have a high-profile profession… and as the old expression goes, one bad apple tends to spoil the whole bunch.

        And, in this case, there is some indication that at least one other lawyer in the firm was aware of what this guy was doing.

  3. The usual reaction is to wish the law firm gets what it deserves. In this case, I wish the lawyer and his wife personally all the worse possible outcome in terms of legal ramifications. If firms like these are brave enough to try and bullshit a giant like Apple, they’d have not the slightest inhibition in screwing over a small – medium company.

    1. These actions had nothing to do with the law firm, it was the lawyer and his wife trying to use inside information to cash in.

      The lawyer will get disbarred, and I’m sure fired from his firm.

      1. Wrong, Bizlaw. The article very clearly states that the law firm was informed TWICE that one of its attorneys was suing one of it clients AND DID NOTHING.

        Try reading – it can be very informative.

      2. Not to put too fine a point on it, but not only was Morgan, Lewis & Bockius informed of the litigation, it was its own general counsel that was in receipt of the information and the source – wait for it – was John McAleese himself. Twice.

        Now, tell us again what legal theory you are using that relieves the law firm of culpability here…

    1. Lawyers are governed by a strict ethical code, and violating that code can result in their license being revoked as well as other monetary sanctions being levied against them. IOW, a lawyer who does something unethical or illegal can lose his ability to make a living, throwing 7 (or more) years of college/law school out the window.

      What’s your profession governed by?

  4. I read the patent claims. Not to put too fine a point on it, but they suck. The only way it gets around prior art is by making each of the claims specific to exactly what happens to the object being moved (the object is dragged at a certain velocity and that makes it disappear from the screen).

    First, the patent shouldn’t hold because it’s trivial.
    Second, there’s GOT to be prior art.

    Those are a couple of the very good reasons why nobody bought into this troll’s activities.

  5. I think we’re about to see a 1300-partner law firm dry up and vanish faster than Arthur Andersen. Any client who knows a partner in his law firm pulled a stunt like this is going to drop them like a bad habit.

    -jcr

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