The South East Texas Record has flagged an action initiated by two technology companies that are claiming than US$1 million from their attorneys who, they allege, did an inadequate job of representing them in a Marshall (South East Texas) patent infringement lawsuit and overcharged them too.
The plaintiffs in these proceedings are a US corporation, Massachussetts-based DataTern Inc. and Amphion Innovations plc, registered in the Isle of Man. The defendant is Wisconsin-based Foley & Lardner LLP, a respected law firm most recently in the news for taking controversial former USPTO Director John Dudas into its partnership.
DataTern and Amphion allege that, in an action against Red Hat for patent infringement, an unsigned agreement provided for "reasonable hourly rates" to be charged "only for tasks necessary to advance plaintiffs' interest" and that Foley would directly pay any third-party expenses. Although the infringement claim against Red Hat settled in December 2008, the plaintiffs maintain that "Defendants' actions have caused and will continue to cause damage to plaintiffs".
PatLit will endeavour to follow this dispute and bring particulars as and when they become available. If nothing else, it is a reminder of the importance of establishing as clearly as possible the precise parameters of the attorney-client relationship