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Boston-based IP firm Fish & Richardson is facing a $25m (£14.3m) malpractice suit arising from an alleged conflict of interest on a mobile phone ringtone deal with trophy German client Siemens.
The case, filed in California, is brought by two inventors and the company they formed in 2002 to market software allowing mobile phone users to design their own ringtones.
The plaintiffs claim they had retained Fish & Rich- ardson as their legal adviser for the sale of their company to Siemens, which had been a Fish & Richardson client.
The complaint says: "The Fish Defendants negligently and carelessly provided legal representation to plaintiffs, including failure to maintain confidentiality of plaintiffs' information… failing to honestly, reasonably and in good faith advise plaintiffs in the course of the negotiations with Siemens and following the close of the Siemens financing, and failing to disclose the Fish Defendant's conflicting relationships with Siemens and others."
The case has come to light just weeks after Fish & Richardson had a $30m (£17.1m) malpractice award against the firm reinstated by a Californian appeal court.
A Fish & Richardson spokesperson said: "This case was brought by people who were not clients of the firm. We've hired counsel to defend us in this case and plan to defend it vigorously."