Last week, a federal judge in California denied the plaintiff’s motions to disqualify the defendant’s counsel, finding that the firm’s former representation of the plaintiff was not sufficiently recent, substantial, or substantively related to the firm’s current representation of the defendant to warrant disqualification.
The plaintiff, IPS Group, Inc., brought two related lawsuits against Duncan Solutions, Inc., for patent infringement — one in July 2015 and another in March 2017. In June 2017, the law firm Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo P.C. (“Mintz”) joined the defense teams representing Duncan in both matters. IPS Group made two “virtually identical” motions in July to disqualify Mintz in each case, arguing that (1) IPS Group was a current client of Mintz, so concurrent representation of IPS Group and Duncan was a breach of the duty of loyalty, and alternatively, (2) IPS Group was a former client of Mintz, who had obtained confidential information from IPS Group material to Mintz’s current representation of Duncan.