Apple hires new DC lobbyists for competition, IP issues

The law firm it used to battle Samsung will now lobby the federal government

Apple has hired the company that represented it in its battle against Samsung Electronics to represent it in Washington, D.C., and lobby the government on a range of competition and intellectual property issues.

The California-based maker of the iPhone, iPad and Macbook computer, brought on Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr in October, according to a federal disclosure document published Monday.

The law firm, better known as WilmerHale, led Apple's charge against Samsung Electronics in three high-profile Silicon Valley jury trials that centered around allegations of patent and design infringement in the smartphone and tablet market. Now, it will lobby the federal government and Congress on related issues.

The specific issues that WilmerHale will lobby on were not disclosed, but a clue can sometimes be found in the personal experience of the individual lobbyists. They are David Ross, who was an international trade counsel at the Senate Finance Committee for four years until 2011 and worked at the office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Neil Potts, who before joining WilmerHale in 2013 was an attorney at a company specializing in international and trade law, and Jonathan Yarowsky, who worked alongside Potts at his previous firm and is now a WilmerHale partner in regulatory and government affairs.

Apple is a major IT industry lobbyist. In the first nine months of this year, the company spent just under $3 million on a diverse agenda of subjects, including consumer health legislation, transportation of lithium ion batteries, international taxes, e-books, medical devices and copyright.

That puts it about equal with Intel in federal lobbying spending, but it's far behind top-lobbyist Google, which has spent $13 million so far this year, according to federal disclosures.

Apple uses its own on-staff lobbyists and five other lobbying companies in addition to WilmerHale.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
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