This moggy is currently travelling in the orient, and thought that he was not going to post this week. However, events have, as they are wont to do, taken over.
The IPKat's whiskers twitched when hearing news that Professor Sir Robin Jacob was acting as an expert witness for Samsung. This news was first announced by Florian Mueller on his blog here, and has also been reported, for example, by the BBC here. The engagement relates to a US action by Samsung against Ericsson in the ITC.
This news raised eyebrows in many quarters, including some feline eyebrows, with Florian Mueller commenting "this just doesn't feel right", because Sir Robin (whose main job since he stepped down from the Court of Appeal is Sir Hugh Laddie Chair of Intellectual Property Law and Co-Director, IBIL) recently gave the leading judgment in the Court of Appeal decision concerning Apple's registered design of tablet computers in which Samsung was held not to infringe Apple's registration, and Apple's conduct was severely criticised in a later hearing and judgment. Your humble servant covered much of this dispute last year, and even scampered off to the Court of Appeal for the handing down of the judgment, at which alas Sir Robin did not make an appearance.
The IPKat considers himself a friend of both Sir Robin and Florian Mueller (and so do I, says Merpel); this human amanuensis knows both of them only by their works. The IPKat has received this statement from the Clerk to Sir Robin Jacob at 8 New Square, which he would like to share with his readers:
Professor Sir Robin Jacob has asked me to issue a short statement on his behalf following recent press statements about his instruction by Samsung to act as an expert witness on matters of law and procedure in patent actions.
Sir Robin had not discussed any role as an expert, or any related matter, with Samsung or any of its representatives either directly or indirectly before 9 January 2013, when he was approached through his clerk by Bristows in the normal way to enquire as to his availability to give an expert opinion. Sir Robin accepted those instructions on 21 January 2013.Since Florian Mueller's esteemed blog does not accept comments, readers may care to post their thoughts on the matter here.
Sir Robin‘s role is entirely unrelated to his judgment in the Court of Appeal given on 18 October 2012 in the case of Samsung Electronics (UK) Ltd and Apple Inc. The instruction does not relate to any UK litigation or advice of any kind. Sir Robin is being remunerated for providing his expert opinion at his usual rates.
The IPKat, for his part, does not wish to comment on the merits of this particular instance, but suspects that the general issue of what engagements retired judges are permitted to accept will be very much up for discussion.