Kent J. Cooper

Director of Patents and Licensing at Advanced Micro Devices , Inc.

Location:
ONE AMD PL, Sunnyvale, California, United States
Company:
Advanced Micro Devices , Inc.
HQ Phone:
(408) 749-4000
Wrong Kent Cooper?

Last Updated 12/5/2016

General Information

Employment History

Owner  - Law Office of Kent J. Cooper

Partner  - Floyd and Buss

Affiliations

Partner  - F&B LLP

Patent Attorney  - Motorola Inc

Counsel  - Nintendo

Web References  

Speedy Federal Circuit Briefs | Briefs of the latest CAFC patent opinions

After the Lonestar litigation, Cooper left AMD to join the law firm of Floyd & Buss as a partner.
Admittedly, the firm did not screen Cooper upon his entry. Soon thereafter, Floyd & Buss filed this suit on behalf of SMG against Nintendo and the other defendants. Nearly ten months after the suit was filed, Nintendo moved to disqualify Floyd & Buss from continued representation in this case. Lower court's decision: Although the parties agreed that Cooper never represented Nintendo at any time, there was a dispute whether Cooper received confidential information from Nintendo during the Lonestar litigation. In the district court's view, the Joint Defense Agreement's provision waiving any basis to seek disqualification of the "respective counsel of such party in any future litigation," did not pertain to an attorney like Cooper who subsequently left AMD or Nintendo or its counsel and joined another company or firm. Instead, the court held that the Agreement's waiver provision only contemplated conflicts between AMD and Nintendo as "either party. The court stated that "[t]here is no evidence to suggest that the waiver contemplated covering attorneys who left their respective companies for new clients. Id.Therefore, in the view of the district court, "the Lonestar JDA does not foreclose Nintendo's motion to disqualify Cooper for breach of confidentiality." Finding that the case at bar and the Lonestar litigation involved similar technology and similar legal issues pertaining to whether the Hollywood chip infringed the asserted claims, the district court applied a conclusive presumption that Cooper had accessed Nintendo's confidential information and held that disqualification of the entire Floyd & Buss firm was therefore necessary. According to SMG, the Agreement clearly intended to bar Nintendo from seeking to disqualify "respective counsel" like Cooper who subsequently left one of the parties or its counsel to join another company or law firm. We agree with SMG's interpretation. As an initial matter, while challenging SMG's reading of the Joint Defense Agreement, Nintendo cannot dispute that these types of waiver provisions are enforceable where, as here, there is a non-attorney-client relationship (Cooper did not represent Nintendo in the Lonestar litigation) involving sophisticated parties. In view of these principles, the Agreement's terms clearly point away from the district court's conclusion that Cooper was not covered by the waiver provision. Nintendo agreed not to seek disqualification of then "respective counsel of such party [i.e., AMD] in any future litigation. Cooper was indisputably a "respective counsel" of AMD, and, contrary to Nintendo's objections, the breadth and temporal scope of the waiver are broad enough to include "any future litigation" between Nintendo and a party employing, or represented by, Cooper. This interpretation is bolstered by the fact that "respective counsel" was a term used consistently throughout Paragraph 6 of the Joint Defense Agreement. Just before the waiver provision, the paragraph provides: "Nothing contained in this Agreement has the effect of . . . creating any . . . duties between a party or its respective counsel and the other party or its respective counsel, other than the obligation to comply with the express terms of this Agreement[.]" To limit the definition of "respective counsel" in this provision to current counsel of AMD and Nintendo (namely, counsel for AMD and Nintendo in 2010 and 2011, or at the time of the SMG litigation), however, would produce an illogical result: former counsel such as Cooper would have no ongoing obligation of confidentiality. In addition, such a reading of the Joint Defense Agreement would violate the fundamental principle that a contract should be interpreted so as to give meaning to each of its provisions. Because the only construction that honors the parties' intent to protect their confidential information while keeping the paragraph internally consistent is to include Cooper as a "respective counsel," we agree with SMG that the district court's determination was incorrect as a Furthermore, we believe that SMG will be adversely affected if it is required to wait until after a final adverse judgment to have this issue addressed because it will have been required to proceed through the litigation without counsel of its choice. NEWMAN, Circuit Judge, (dissenting) It is not disputed that as Director of Patents and Li-censing and in-house counsel to AMD, Kent Cooper was a member of AMD's litigation team when Nintendo and AMD entered into an agreement to exchange vital confidential information, and pursue a common defense against the Lonestar Corporation in a patent infringement suit involving the same accused graphics processing chip at issue here. Nor is it disputed that after Cooper joined the law firm of Floyd and Buss, the firm was and is representing parties adverse to Nintendo. The firm did not take any steps to exclude Cooper from the firm's activities in this lawsuit; there is no representation that the traditional "firewall" was erected. While Cooper states that he does not remember receiving Nintendo's confidential information, even his co-counsel at AMD states that Cooper was privy to litigation tactics and strategies that are likely relevant in this substantially-related case. Whether or not Cooper drew upon his insider's information in past interaction with Nintendo, it cannot be presumed that this did not occur. Despite my colleagues' unwillingness to recognize that disqualification is proper based on breach of the lawyer's professional obligations, in a footnote this court apparently acknowledges that Cooper and his law firm could be disqualified if they are found to breach the Agreement. However, professional responsibility in the legal system does not distinguish between a written agreement to protect information received as an attorney, and the ethical obligation to protect information received as an attorney. The district court's decision to disqualify Cooper and his law firm was not an abuse of the trial judge's discretion.

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JosephNYC.com - Gregory P Joseph Law Offices - Complex Litigation Blog

Kent Cooper - the attorney at the center of this dispute - was working as the Director of Patents and Licensing for AMD at the time of the Lonestar litigation.
He helped assess the infringement claim and the validity of the patent at issue in that case. After the Lonestar litigation, Cooper left AMD to join the law firm of Floyd & Buss as a partner. Admittedly, the firm did not screen Cooper upon his entry. Soon thereafter, Floyd & Buss filed this suit on behalf of SMG against Nintendo and the other defendants. Nearly ten months after the suit was filed, Nintendo moved to disqualify Floyd & Buss from continued representation in this case. Although the parties agreed that Cooper never represented Nintendo at any time, there was a dispute whether Cooper received confidential information from Nintendo during the Lonestar litigation. According to SMG, the Agreement clearly intended to bar Nintendo from seeking to disqualify "respective counsel" like Cooper who subsequently left one of the parties or its counsel to join another company or law firm. That waiver provision, set forth in Paragraph 6 of the Joint Defense Agreement, provides: The parties expressly acknowledge and agree that nothing in this Agreement, nor compliance with the terms of this Agreement by either party, shall be used as a basis to seek to disqualify the respective counsel of such party in any future litigation. ***We agree with SMG's interpretation. As an initial matter, while challenging SMG's reading of the Joint Defense Agreement, Nintendo cannot dispute that these types of waiver provisions are enforceable where, as here, there is a non-attorney-client relationship (Cooper did not represent Nintendo in the Lonestar litigation) involving sophisticated parties. See generally Model Rules of Prof'l Conduct 1.7 cmt.

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F&B LLP

Kent Cooper
F&B LLP Kent Cooper Kent Cooper kcooper@fblawllp.com 512-681-1503 Kent's principal area of practice is intellectual property, with a special focus on patent licensing. Kent has experience in patent litigation, as well as in trade secrets. Prior to joining F&B LLP, Kent was the Director of Patents & Licensing at Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) where he was involved in defending AMD against numerous allegations of patent infringement and monetizing AMD's patent portfolio for the first time by asserting the portfolio against competitors.

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