Judge who reprimanded Apple for ‘lack of integrity’ now hired by Samsung

28 Feb, 2013

Strange story: remember the UK judge who was incredibly angry at Apple for not apologizing properly to Samsung?  He is now working for Samsung as an expert in another trial.

In November, Sir Robin Jacob made headlines around the world when he said that Apple had published “false and misleading” material. He also said that Apple displayed “a lack of integrity” when it argued that it needed two weeks to change the text of the ‘apology’ to Samsung on its website (Jacob told Bloomberg at the time: “This is Apple. They cannot put something on their website?”).

Anyway, this same judge is now working as an expert for Samsung, as recently filed documents show. The legal blog FOSS patents has the story. FOSS does remark that Jacob is in fact an expert on patent law, and that Jacob would not do this if there was a risk that his work for Samsung would violate any law.

However, writes FOSS, it’s a bit strange to see him working for a party that he passed judgement on less than four months ago – and a judgement that was an ‘extreme ruling in favor of Samsung’ at that:

For someone so concerned with “integrity” it is utterly unusual to issue a high-profile and extreme ruling in favor of a particular party (Samsung in this case) only to be hired as an expert by that same party in another dispute. But that’s what has happened here, and I wonder how certain people in Cupertino feel about it.


I also have no doubt that at the time of the ruling Sir Robin Jacob was not being paid, or improperly promised to be paid, by Samsung, and he won’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 v. Apple case.

Furtermore, Sir Robin Jacob is truly an expert in patent law and there is no question that Samsung will benefit from his knowledge.

That said, this just doesn’t feel right. It gives the impression that a judge who deals Samsung’s number one rival a huge PR blow, in a way that I found very extreme and unjustified, will be generously rewarded. For that reason alone, I think both Samsung and Sir Robin Jacob should not have done this.

[via @gruber][photo: Flickr, iannnnn]

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About the author

Raf Weverbergh

Editor of whiteboard. Raf Weverbergh was a magazine journalist whose work appeared in magazines like Rolling Stone, Playboy, Mail on Sunday, Publico and South China Morning Post. He is the co-founder of FINN, a corporate communications agency where he advises startups and multinationals on their PR and Mustr, the easiest media database for PR professionals. You can contact him on Twitter, Linkedin or Skype (rafweverbergh).

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