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Top judge accused of bias in landmark patent appeal

legalweek.com

Top judge accused of bias in landmark patent appeal

02 May 2002

Author: Paul Hodkinson

A Swedish pharmaceuticals company advised by Simmons & Simmons has launched a groundbreaking appeal against a ruling by Mr Justice Laddie accusing him of having an “appearance of bias” in a patent case.

The highly unusual allegation is one of the grounds of AstraZeneca subsidiary AB Hassle’s appeal against Laddie’s ruling in a patent case.
Laddie ruled that AB Hassle could not enforce a patent for one of its drugs against two rival UK companies, Generics (UK) and Cairnstores.

Although judges have in the past been accused of conflicts of interest – notably Lord Hoffman in the notorious Pinochet case – accusations of bias, especially against such a senior judge, are virtually unheard of.

A source close to AB Hassle’s legal team said that the claim related to Laddie’s “appearance of bias” against the evidence of its expert witness, a Dr Rees.

In his judgment, issued on 6 March, Laddie is highly critical of Rees, comparing him unfavourably with the claimants’ witness, Dr Peter Rue, whom he dubbed “impressive and reliable”.

“It would have been much more pleasing to say that Dr Rees was as impressive a witness as Dr Rue, but I cannot,” he said.

“The overwhelming impression on me was of an able man who was acting as an advocate for the defendant’s case.”

Leave to appeal was granted on 6 March and is scheduled to be heard in the Court of Appeal on 2 October. Simon Thorley QC, of 3 New Square, is appearing for AB Hassle.

As well as accusing Laddie of an appearance of bias, AB Hassle’s legal team will challenge Laddie’s ruling that the patent for its drug, Losec, is unenforceable because the inventive step that produced it was “obvious”.

Laddie is one four IP judges operating out of the Patent Court and is well known among lawyers for his abrasive style.

Taylor Joynson Garrett is acting for Generics (UK) and SJ Berwin is acting for Cairnstores.

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Legal Week: New Square’s Kitchin to replace Laddie: “In 2002, an appeal was brought against a Laddie judgment accusing the judge of having an “appearance of bias”.

Thursday 15 Sept 2005

Legal Week reports

IP lawyers have welcomed the appointment of David Kitchin QC of 8 New Square as the successor to Mr Justice Laddie in the UK IP court.

The appointment, announced yesterday (14 September), sees Kitchin replace the IP court’s most senior High Court judge, Hugh Laddie, who has left the bench to join IP consultancy Willoughby & Partners.

Kitchin was called to the Bar in 1971 and took silk in 1994. He was appointed a recorder in the Patent County Court earlier this year and is approved to sit as a deputy High Court judge and to hear trade mark appeals.

The appointment will be closely watched by the IP community, which has been highly critical of patent judges in recent years, claiming they have had a bias against patent holders.

In 2002, an appeal was brought against a Laddie judgment accusing the judge of having an “appearance of bias”.

Wragge & Co head of IP Gordon Harris was upbeat about the appointment saying: “He is the greatest brain at the IP Bar. I would expect he will end up in the House of Lords.”

Author: Paul Hodkinson

Source: Legal Week

Start Date: 15/09/2005

End Date: 20/09/2005

SOURCE

Kitchen joins High Court to replace Laddie

Author: Paul Hodkinson

22 Sep 2005 | 01:00 |

IP lawyers have welcomed the appointment of David Kitchin QC of 8 New Square as the successor to Mr Justice Laddie in the UK IP court.

The appointment, announced last week (14 September), sees Kitchin replace the IP court’s most senior High Court judge, Hugh Laddie, who has left the bench after 10 years to join IP consultancy Willoughby & Partners.

Fifty-year-old Kitchin was called to the Bar in 1971 and took Silk in 1994.

He was appointed a recorder in the Patent County Court earlier this year and is approved to sit as a deputy High Court judge and to hear trademark appeals.

The appointment to the High Court’s Chancery Division will be closely watched by the IP community, which has been highly critical of patent judges in recent years, claiming they have had a bias against patent holders.

In 2002, an appeal was unsuccessfully brought against a Laddie judgment accusing the judge of having an “appearance of bias”.

Wragge & Co head of IP Gordon Harris was upbeat about Kitchin’s appointment saying: “He is the greatest brain at the IP Bar. I would expect he will end up in the House of Lords.”

Bird & Bird IP partner Trevor Cook added: “He is certainly one of the most respected [practitioners] at the Bar and the main concern now will be finding someone else who is able to step into his shoes.”

Other High Court judges appointed in the same round were Caroline Swift QC of Byrom Street Chambers, Brian Langstaff QC of Cloisters, David Lloyd Jones QC of Brick Court and Vivian Ramsey QC of Keating Chambers.

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