Honest IP: an interview with Sir Robin Jacob


Honest IP: an interview with Sir Robin Jacob

The Rt. Hon. Sir Robin Jacob is a former Lord Justice of the Court of Appeals for England and Wales, and the current Sir Hugh Laddies chair of IP law at UCL. He talks to WIPR about IP law in the UK and Europe.

At this year’s International Trademark Association annual meeting, the Rt. Hon. Professor Sir Robin Jacob estimated that 81 million business cards would change hands over the course of the meeting if every attendee exchanged cards with everyone else. This figure may seem outrageous, but it does highlight how prominent IP has become.

When Jacob started out in intellectual property law, large UK law firms had no IP practices; IP litigation was left to a small band of boutiques. The IP legal sector has grown substantially in the UK and abroad since then. Try counting the number of IP practices there are today in a jurisdiction such as the US, and Jacob’s business card figure may seem plausible.

“I don’t think anybody realised that IP was going to change, but then it did, partly because of a new High Court judge who started finding for plaintiffs, and partly because the world changed,” says Jacob. “I think it changed in the UK first before anywhere else in the common law world.”

Robin Jacob, interview, copyright