This tale of legal intrigue revolves around lawyer John McAleese who worked for Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. At the same time his law firm was working with Apple, he was helping his wife, Jennifer McAleese, launch a patent company, FlatWorld Interactives, that targeted Apple and its iPhone. This conflict of interest dates back to 2007, when the original iPhone was released.
FlatWorld Interactives courted known patent trolls and Apple competitors, suggesting their touchscreen patent could help these companies sue Apple. To Google, Jennifer McAleese wrote:
The patent link below may be of interest to Google regarding Apple's swiping mechanism. Our inventor, Slavko Milekic was granted this patent in 2005. In 2007, we placed the patent in reissue to tailor it more closely to iPhone claims. We have been told by many law firms that the patent is extremely valuable even without the reissue possibilities... If you are interested in discussing the patent please let us know. I think it could be an important asset for your ongoing 'talks' with Apple.
Flatworld Interactives sued Apple in 2012, but John McAleese's role as both a lawyer for an Apple law firm and an adviser to a patent troll was not known until this year. Not surprisingly, Apple is using this potential conflict of interest in its case against Flatworld Interactives. You can read more about McAleese and his wife's patent troll startup in the Ars Technica article.