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.