(Reuters) Apple Inc's chief patent counsel is leaving the company, according to a source familiar with the situation.

Richard "Chip" Lutton Jr. manages the iPad and iPod maker's patent portfolio. He is planning to depart the company in the near future, perhaps in the next month, the source said.

BJ Watrous, a former deputy general counsel from Hewlett-Packard, is now chief IP counsel at Apple, according to Watrous's LinkedIn Web page.

(Reporting by Dan Levine and Poornima Gupta; Editing by Mike Nesbit)