• Steve Jobs Feverishly Recruiting Lawyers

    It may be a tough job market out there today, but if you're an out-of-work attorney specializing in patents and intellectual property, business is picking up. And you may be in luck. Apple CEO Steve Jobs is reportedly dropping some serious coin on qualified lawyers these days. Then again, if you were the CEO of one of the most frequently sued tech companies in the history of the world, wouldn't you be doing the same thing?

    The news comes as Apple gears up for another round of legal battles. Their current opponent, however, is a formidable one -
    Nokia, a mobile-phone maker far bigger than Apple in the cell phone business. Apple and Nokia will face off in front of the International Trade Commission, as the body will hear allegations about supposed intellectual property violations. If this sounds similar to other recent claims involving Motorola and HTC, you would be right. Indeed, Apple's legal team will be tied up in court for what could amount to a very long period of time. And, as a result, Steve Jobs and company wants a legal "dream team" to do the company's bidding.

    According to a report published Monday morning in BusinessWeek: "Apple has hired some of the nation's top patent lawyers as outside counsel. They include Ropert Krupka of Kirkland & Ellis, who negotiated a 2005 settlement in which Apple agreed to pay $100 million to Creative Technology Ltd., maker of the Zen music player; William Lee WilmerHale in Boston, who successfully represented Broadcom Corp in its fight against Qualcomm; and Matt powers of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, who successfully defended the patent on Merck & Co.'s biggest product, the $4.7 billion-a-year asthma drug Singulair."

    Just last year, more than two dozen substantial patent infringement suits involving Apple were filed. It's a pattern that is widely expected to escalate before it slows. And Apple's decision to beef up up its legal team is clear validation of such an assessment.

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