Legal Musical Chairs: Oracle General Counsel Jumps To Apple, Apple's To Qualcomm

After less than a year as Apple's general counsel, Donald Rosenberg is resigning his job for a new one at wireless technology maker Qualcomm, where he will oversee all legal matters and strategy. To fill the vacancy created by his departure, Apple recruited Oracle's top lawyer, Daniel Cooperman, who will begin working at Apple Nov. 1.

Oracle is promoting from within to fill the spot Cooperman leaves empty. Dorian Daley, a legal vice president who has been with Oracle since 1992, will become the company's new senior vice president and general counsel.

All of the executives shuffling around face "frying pan to fire" situations.

Qualcomm's longtime general counsel, Lou Lupin, stepped down in August after several defeats in Qualcomm's long-running patent war with rival Broadcom; Qualcomm is also squabbling over patents with Nokia. Meanwhile, Apple's top lawyer of nearly a decade, Nancy Heinen, quietly and mysteriously left the company in mid-2006, shortly before the eruption of its stock-options backdating scandal. She now faces charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which alleges that she knowingly perpetuated the fraud.

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Over in Redwood Shores, Calif., Oracle is nearly as active in litigation as it is in acquisitions. Cooperman, who joined Oracle in 1997, guided the company's legal maneuvering as it fought PeopleSoft's hostile management and the Department of Justice to complete an acquisition that reshaped the software industry. Having bought up one ERP archrival, Oracle is now suing another, as it pursues SAP for "corporate theft on a grand scale" stemming from allegedly improper use of Oracle support materials gathered by SAP subsidiary TomorrowNow.

Cooperman's departure will not affect Oracle's SAP lawsuit, in any way, according to Oracle spokesman Bob Wynne.

"Dorian has been working on that since day one," he said.