Apple Facing Touchscreen Patent Lawsuit, Filed by Attorney at Apple’s Own Law Firm

Joe Mullin, reporting 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. 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.

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.) Together, the McAleeses created “an indirect and covert pipeline” of information pumped to FlatWorld’s attorneys according to Apple lawyers.

One of the most bizarre patent troll stories I’ve ever seen.

β˜… Monday, 3 June 2013

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