Monday, February 6, 2012

Disqualification Not Warranted by Defense Counsel's Prior Employment With Plaintiff's Prosecution Counsel

The court denied plaintiff's motion to disqualify defense counsel even though a partner at defense counsel's firm was a partner at plaintiff's prosecution counsel's firm at the time the patent-in-suit was prosecuted. "Defendant has carried its burden of demonstrating that [the attorney] did not receive confidential information regarding [plaintiff] from [his old firm], and that disqualification is thus unnecessary. [The attorney's] Declaration states unambiguously that he billed no time to [plaintiff] and had not heard of it until the present litigation. . . . Plaintiff offers nothing beyond the fact that [the attorney] was a partner in the intellectual property group, worked on one occasion with [plaintiff's prosecution counsel] on another project, and could theoretically have accessed confidential documents if he had tried. None of this evidence supports the contention that [the attorney] obtained confidences regarding [plaintiff] while at [his old firm], let alone rebuts his unequivocal assertion that he did not."

Streetspace, Inc. v. Google, Inc., et. al., 3-11-cv-04574 (CAND February 1, 2012, Order) (Ware, J.)

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