Legal Ethics

Claiming Conflict, Google Seeks Pepper Hamilton's Disqualification in New Client's Patent Case

Contending that Pepper Hamilton’s representation of a new tech client creates a conflict that it was never informed about, Google Inc. is seeking to disqualify the law firm from continuing to represent Digitude Innovations LLC in patent infringement matters.

The law firm has done work for Google, starting in 2008, and helped the search-engine goliath seek patents related to its Android mobile operating system, Bloomberg reports.

That means Pepper Hamilton has confidential information that conflicts it out of representing Digitude in suits against handset makers who are Google partners, Google argues in a filing last week at the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington, D.C.

Pepper Hamilton did not immediately respond to the news agency’s requests for comment, but partner Scott Daniels of Westerman Hattori Daniels said such alleged overlap is bound too occur, given the proliferation of patent litigation by technology companies.

“Conflicts are hard on law firms,” he noted. “You don’t want to anger your clients.”

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