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Fish & Richardson’s attempt to work around a conflict failed this week when a New Jersey federal judge disqualified the firm from defending a family of companies in a patent suit brought by Nasdaq Inc.

Judge Brian Martinotti of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey handed down a disqualification ruling on Monday that stops Fish from continuing its representation of Miami International Holdings Inc., operator of the MIAX options exchange, and several affiliated companies. The decision stems from a suit dating back to September 2017, in which MIAX faces allegations that it infringed several electronic trading patents owned by Nasdaq and subsidiaries Nasdaq ISE LLC and FTEN Inc. In addition, Nasdaq accuses MIAX of misappropriating trade secrets.

In his ruling, Martinotti said Fish should be barred from defending MIAX in light of the law firm’s past representation of Nasdaq between 1998 and 2011, a role that included prosecuting four of the seven patents at the center of the case.

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Scott Flaherty

Scott Flaherty, based in New York, covers the business of law with a focus on legal ethics, lawyer misconduct, conflicts-of-interest and litigation involving law firms. He can be reached at [email protected] On Twitter: @sflaherty18

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