Apple’s Chief Patent Attorney Steps Down as Mobile Patent Wars Continue

Apple can’t seem to stop the bleeding of talent these days.

So far this summer, Apple has endured one mid-to-high level executive departure after the next.

Last month, John Herbold – the senior project manager of iCloud – announced that he’s leaving the company, a reality that walloped Apple just days after Apple’s chief of retail operations, Ron Johnson, opted to leave Apple to become the new CEO of JC Penney.

On Tuesday, the world learned of another key talent departure for the tech giant.

According to a published report from Reuters, Apple’s chief patent attorney Richard “Chip” Lutton Junior is bidding farewell just as the company “is fighting numerous legal battles around the world.”

Lutton’s voicemail was still set up at Apple on Monday, but he will be leaving Apple soon, perhaps in the next month, said the source familiar with the situation.

BJ Watrous will now take the helm as Chief IP Counsel at Apple. Watrous is a former Hewlett-Packard talent who tended to the company’s intellectual property, licensing and other related matters of litigation.

Waltrous clearly has his work cut out for him.

Last week, Apple filed a second complaint with the ITC looking to have all imports of HTC devices banned on account of alleged patent violations against Apple.

“HTC is disappointed at Apple’s constant attempts at litigations instead of competing fairly in the market,” said HTC general counsel Grace Lei said in a statement Tuesday. “HTC strongly denies all infringement claims raised by Apple in the past and present and reiterates our determination and commitment to protect our intellectual property rights.”