The IPKat almost choked over his breakfast mouse when he read in today's Telegraph that Sir Hugh Laddie, the popular and well-respected senior judge in the Patents Court, is quitting the Bench next month for a consultancy role with intellectual property solicitors Willoughby & Partners.
Tony Willoughby: an old friend of Sir Hugh
Sir Hugh explained that he wanted to exchange the "isolation" of the Bench for what he called the "fun and mutual support of working in a team". The Telegraph comments that his unwillingness to continue serving on the Bench is a sign that judges are increasingly reluctant to accept what has been traditionally regarded as a "life sentence". Sir Hugh Laddie has been a Chancery judge for 10 years. He told The Daily Telegraph he would step down next month. He confesses to his good fortune in having the opportunity of a new career "when I still feel there is plenty of drive left in me".
The IPKat is heartbroken. Sir Hugh might have been bored, but he was never boring. It was a pleasure to read his judgments, whether they were of the usual high standard or (unusually) were as inexplicable as Chocosuisse (in which, incidentally, Tony Willoughby's firm acted for the losing party).