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Motion to Withdraw as Counsel of Record Denied Because It Was Filed on the Eve of Trial

In this patent infringement action between Golden Bridge Technology, Inc. (“Golden Bridge or GBT”) against Apple, Golden Bridge’s counsel moved to withdraw as counsel of record because Golden Bridge had failed to pay the legal bills. As explained by the court, “[s]ince this case appeared on the undersigned’s docket, Plaintiff Golden Bridge Technology Inc. has been represented by attorneys from the McKool Smith firm. With GBT’s consent, McKool now seeks to withdraw as GBT counsel based on the client’s failure to pay its bills.”

Although the court was sympathetic to the plight of the attorneys, it did not believe that granting the request to withdraw was appropriate. “This court is quite sympathetic to the idea that attorneys ordinarily should not be made to work for free. But here two key factors weigh against granting McKool’s withdrawal request. First, no other attorneys have appeared for GBT. Even in the time since McKool filed its motion, no new attorneys have appeared. Second, trial is upon us. Jury selection is May 30, and opening statements are set for the following Monday. All pretrial motions have been briefed, and the parties are set to appear for a final pretrial conference this Friday.”

As a result, the court believed that the trial would have to be continued if the motion was granted and that would be unfair to Apple. ” If the court were to grant the motion, it is difficult to imagine how this trial could proceed as scheduled. And rescheduling the trial would simply shift the burden to Apple, which hardly would be fair.”

Accordingly, the court denied the motion to withdraw as counsel of record.

Golden Bridge Technology Inc. v. Apple, Inc., Case No. 5:12-cv-04882-PSG (N.D. Cal. May 14, 2014)

The authors of are patent trial lawyers at Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP. We represent inventors, patent owners and technology companies in patent licensing and litigation. Whether pursuing patent violations or defending infringement claims, we are aggressive and effective advocates for our clients. For more information contact Stan Gibson at 310.201.3548 or