Defendant's motion to disqualify plaintiff's counsel was granted where counsel represented plaintiff in the current dispute and was subsequently retained by defendant in connection with a reexamination proceeding involving different patents and an unrelated indemnity dispute. "Once [plaintiff's counsel] accepted [defendant] as a client, the firm owed [defendant] a duty of loyalty. [Plaintiff's counsel] breached that duty . . . by assisting [plaintiff] in advancing patent infringement claims against [defendant]. Although the consequence of that breach -- per se disqualification -- does negatively impact [plaintiff's counsel's] first client, [plaintiff], allowing [it] to avoid that consequence by simply withdrawing as counsel for [defendant], a secondly acquired but nonetheless fully engaged client, is not the best way to restore confidence in the legal profession. . . . Once a client engages a lawyer, that client must be able to expect undivided loyalty. Even though disqualification is a harsh penalty, allowing a law firm to resolve voluntarily created conflicting loyalties by simply dropping the less favored client undermines this expectation."
Fujitsu Limited v. Belkin International, Inc., et. al., 5-10-cv-03972 (CAND December 22, 2010, Order) (Koh, J.)