Thursday, January 29, 2015

Celgard, LG, Apple and lithium-ion batteries; Rule 1.7(a)

Related to a post at PatentlyO titled Federal Circuit Grants Motion to Disqualify Jones Day on Appeal, note discussion of previous action in the case from

Korea Times:

Celgard was one of LG partners by supplying base film used in separators - one of key technologies used in batteries since 2005.
But LG Chem terminated the contract with Celgard in July of last year in line with LG Chem's move to diversify its materials-sourcing channels.
"For materials suppliers such as Celgard, partnership with major battery manufacturers is crucial. I think Celgard's ultimate purpose of the legal fight reflects its underlying hope to resume its business tie-up with LG," said an executive at LG Chem's  one supplier in Korea.


Celgard's action against LG relates to United States Patent No. 6,432,586.

The post on PatentlyO related to an issue with Jones Day representing both Celgard and Apple  ; from the case

Apple Inc. states that the Jones Day law firm’s representation
of Celgard LLC in this infringement suit
against their lithium battery supplier, LG Chem., Ltd.,
has made it more difficult for Jones Day to effectively
represent Apple in unrelated ongoing legal matters.


The complaint named only LG Chem and its affiliate companies,
not its customers [that is, Apple was not named].


After Jones Day rejected Apple’s repeated requests to
withdraw, Apple moved for leave to intervene in this
matter for purposes of seeking to disqualify Jones Day.
Apple asserts that the preliminary injunction covers the
custom batteries LG Chem provides for Apple’s products
and that Jones Day currently represents Apple in several
ongoing unrelated commercial litigation matters.


 The CAFC noted

We addressed similar circumstances involving the
same conflict rule, albeit from a different jurisdiction, in
Freedom Wireless, Inc. v. Boston Commc’ns Group, Inc.,
Nos. 2006-1020 et al., 2006 WL 8071423 (Fed. Cir. Mar.
20, 2006). There, we agreed that counsel for plaintiff
should be disqualified from seeking to enjoin a wireless
service technology provider based on the firm’s ongoing
relationship with a customer of the provider because any
“[a]dvocacy by counsel for [plaintiff in support of] . . . the
injunction will adversely affect [customer]’s interest in

being free of the bar of the injunction.” Id. at *2. This
court added:
Here, counsel has asserted a position that an
injunction obtained on behalf of one client .
. . should limit the activity of another client .
. . . In this situation, a clear and direct conflict
of interest has arisen.
Id. at *3.

As evidenced by Jones Day’s attempts to
limit the nature of the representation, Jones Day and
Celgard clearly knew the potential for conflict here yet
elected to continue with the representation.



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