Next to sales, patents are the life’s blood of the technology industry so it is no small matter that the company’s chief patent attorney Richard ‘Chip’ Lutton Jr is leaving the company. It is a significant step amidst patent battles with Samsung and HTC, to name a few.
The Samsung case, in particular, has been a particular thorn in the side for Apple as both companies slug it out, accusing one another of copying one another’s technology.
Samsung famously demanded access to prototypes of the iPhone 5 and iPad 3, and last week Apple called on the International Trade Commission to block imports of Samsung smartphones and tablets into the US.
It is understood that Lutton will be replaced by BJ Watrous, who was former vice-president and deputy general council for intellectual property licensing at Hewlett-Packard and currently holds the role of chief IP counsel at Apple.