Telstra splits from second firm in patent battle

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Telstra has now made a second change to its legal representation amidst an epic patent infringement battle before the Federal Court.

Telstra, which ousted King & Wood Mallesons last month after the firm had run the case for over 18 months, has now switched from Herbert Smith Freehills to Clayton Utz.

The hot potato patent case against Telstra was brought to the Federal Court earlier this year by Upaid, which sought to restrain Herbert Smith Freehills from acting against them once Telstra had dumped King & Wood Mallesons. 

According to Business Insider Australia, Upaid was represented by a unit of Freehills, which last month provided advice on a patent application. Herbert Smith Freehills denied that there was any conflict of interest and said that reports that a unit of Freehills had acted for Upaid were false.

“Freehills Patent Attorneys is a patent attorney firm which is an affiliate of Herbert Smith Freehills. It is a separate firm with its own management; an entirely separate entity. We note Allens acted and continue to act for Upaid in the proceedings,” said a statement released by the firm.

Nevertheless, Herbert Smith Freehills opted to withdraw from representing Telstra in the case. “Our key interest was for the patent litigation to continue without impediment to our client, and this unnecessary side matter had the potential to delay those proceedings.  Therefore we made the decision to withdraw from the case without admissions as it was in the best interests of our client to do so.”

Upaid is currently taking similar action against multiple telecommunications companies in the Asia pacific region.