Sir Robin Jacob, one of three appeals judges that upheld the ruling forcing Apple to publicly apologize to Samsung in UK newspapers, is now being paid as an expert by Samsung. Only four months after the ruling, Jacobs is named as one of nine experts on a submission of protective order subscriptions, which are steps Samsung will take to ensure that it complies with the ITC’s confidentiality rules in a case brought against Samsung by Ericsson. Florian Müller of Foss Patents says:
I'm sure that Samsung and Sir Robin Jacob wouldn't be doing this if there was any risk of this conduct violating the law. Apparently an ex-judge who is invited to rule on a case involving a given party is not barred by existing UK rules (though this case here may spark a debate whether some reform is needed) from being hired by the same party in another litigation outside the UK less than four months later.
So while it might be ethically dubious, there’s nothing technically wrong with it. Still, it certainly doesn’t sit right.This sort of practice is certainly not uncommon for a retired public official. Jacobs would not be a paid expert for Samsung unless everything was completely legal. However, rightly or wrongly, it could be seen as sending a message that corporate paydays await. Imagine the judge who awarded Apple $1 billion in damages from Samsung later got hired as a consultant by Apple. While not exactly parallel, the media outcry would no doubt be enormous.
What do you think, should judges that rule on a case be allowed to consult for the winning party after only a few months? Should the length of time be longer to avoid even the appearance of impropriety?
Source: Foss Patents