Patent consultant Gary Odom, who blogs and does business as "Patent Hawk," used to help Microsoft defend itself against patent lawsuits. But in August, Odom slapped his former client with a patent lawsuit of his own. On his blog, Odom took a quick break from denouncing patent reform to announce his new project, in an understated post titled "Tool Groups."
Odom gamely admitted that Microsoft had been his client for years. "They had every opportunity for friendly discussion," he wrote.
New documents filed in the case reveal much more about Odom's relationship with his client-turned-target. Not only did Gary Odom work for both Microsoft and one of its outside law firms over a period of several years—he actually signed contracts in which he agreed not to file his own patent or IP lawsuits, and agreed to disclose his own patent activity.
But Odom broke those promises many times over, say Microsoft lawyers. He secretly acquired his own patents, ultimately asserting one in this lawsuit, claiming it covers features of Microsoft Office 2007.