Robert Perry and Paul Straus, who are partners at King & Spalding LLP and associate David Joffe, who have represented ZTE Corp. in a breach of nondisclosure agreement legal dispute with Vringo Inc. (VRNG) in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, have asked Judge Lewis Kaplan to allow them to withdraw as ZTE's counsel.

The King & Spalding attorneys are withdrawing after Judge Kaplan ordered them and ZTE to show cause why they shouldn't be sanctioned for intentional discovery delays and harassment.

ZTE on Friday asked the court to modify its order that ZTE general counzel Guo Xiaoming appear in New York for a deposition, calling for the court to use its discretion out of mercy to Guo, who fears being detained in connection with a federal criminal probe of ZTE's alleged violations of trade sanctions against Iran.

ZTE also agreed to pay reasonable sanctions related to Guo's refusal to testify in New York and urged that additional sanctions against it and the King & Spalding attorneys weren't justified.

The King & Spalding attorneys apparently weren't informed of Guo's fears. They also apparently weren't aware
that 115 additional ZTE employees received Vringo's confidential information and that their emails should have been provided to Vringo as part of discovery.

"K&S seeks to withdraw as soon as reasonably practicable upon an orderly transition to new counsel," the partners said in a motion filed Friday. "This case is currently in fact discovery. On July 31, 2015, Jeff E. Butler and John P. Alexander, of the law firm Clifford Chance US LLP, appeared as counsel for ZTE in the above-captioned matter 14-cv-4988 (LAK) and will continue to represent ZTE going forward.

The attorneys said they were committed to working with Clifford Chance to ensure an orderly transition.

In addition, they noted that Jay Reiziss and Charles McMahon of McDermott, Will & Emery are lead counsel for ZTE in matter 15-cv-0986 (LAK) and will continue to represent ZTE going forward.

"ZTE consents to K&S’s withdrawal as counsel subject to a suitable period of transition,
which ZTE believes will be completed by August 21, 2015."

--To reach the reporter responsible for this story please contact Dan Lonkevich at 707 318-7899 or at dan@thepatentinvestor.com