Samsung and Apple’s legal limbo was one of the major highlights of the year 2012, but it doesn't look like the two companies will stop making news for their legal adventures. One of the turning points in the two giants' battles came when a British court directed Apple to publish an apology to Samsung on the Apple UK website and local newspapers. But here comes another twist: the UK judge who directed Apple to publish the apologies is apparently being hired by Samsung as a patent expert in another legal battle with Ericsson.
The letter discovered...
FOSS Patents' Florian Mueller was apparently the one to notice that the judge, Sir Robin Jacob, is now the patent expert for Samsung. The fact that the judge would be working with Samsung was mentioned in a letter sent by the company’s legal counsel for an ITC investigation of a patent infringement complaint filed by Ericsson against Samsung. However, the blog says there is nothing illegal in the maneuver and adds that Samsung and Sir Robin Jacob wouldn’t be doing it if there was any risk of 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 over whether some reform is needed) from being hired by the same party in another litigation outside the UK less than four months later," says the blog.
According to the blog, at the time of the ruling, Jacob was not being paid, or improperly promised to be paid by Samsung, and he didn't have had any contact with Samsung or Samsung's counsel that would have been against the rules and barred him from adjudicating the Samsung vs. Apple case.
Having said that, the blog points out that this doesn’t seem right as it gives an impression that a judge who deals Samsung's top rival a huge PR blow would be rewarded. Apparently, there are certain rules in the US which prevent this from happening, but this seems to be acceptable in the UK.