Joff Wild

The news that Randall Rader is to retire as a judge at the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit at the end of this month has caught many people by surprise. Coming just a few weeks after his decision to step down as the court’s Chief Judge it is quite a bit to take in.

It’s fair to say, I think, that Rader commands a great deal of respect among IP practitioners around the world and also inspires a large amount of affection. A lot of them will want to know why he is handing in his gavel and what he is going to do next, so I thought I’d ask him. I sent him an email saying that if he wanted a platform to explain his decision and his plans IAM would be happy to give him one. Following- and published with his permission – is an excerpt from the note he sent back:

The bottom line is that I was not happy after leaving the Chief position and it hit me that I need to leave while I am young and full of energy to change the world. 

With that in mind, my plan for the future is to Teach And Teach And Teach.  I have always taught a week in Munich every May.  And I hope to teach April and December at Tsinghua (hopefully Guobin will let me teach two classes, not just one – maybe an IP survey course – TM and copyright too-- or even US Constitutional law or jurisprudence or Civil PRO); November at Tongji and East China; October Taiwan and Korea; September at Tokyo U; and January in India (with Modi in power I am even going to give India another chance).  In addition, I might hope that London, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong and others will also get on my list.

You can see that this schedule will have me teaching somewhere different almost every month.  My Dream Job: travel, friends, and teaching - what I love!  I will not need to be paid at these places; I can teach just for the expenses of travel.  I am not rich but can live on my continuing salary.  Thus, I should be attractive to these universities because I offer a high quality course at a reasonable expense. I would plan to teach a 20-hour course – 4 hours a day for 5 days then I can administer an exam and give grades too.  I did not mention US law schools, but a couple of them have reached out to me too and I may do some of that as well.

As you can gather, I consider myself RICH, not because I have any money (you know that I have lived on a government salary all my life) but because I have many friends, including you (although I hate to admit that I have a friend who is a journalist, so can we keep this a secret between you and me?).

Did he mean that final sentence??!!

Those of us who have heard Rader address various conferences and symposia around the world know just how good a speaker he is. He has that priceless ability possessed by all great teachers of being able to explain complicated concepts in plain, unfussy language –and he usually does it with a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye. In the dry world of patents that is a gift indeed. I predict that Rader will be in great demand and that the CAFC’s loss will be a gain enjoyed by the world’s IP students for many years to come (though I also can't help feeling he will end up doing a lot more than teach).