On April 27, 2012, ALJ Robert K. Rogers, Jr. issued the public version of Order No. 19 (dated January 26, 2012) denying Complainant Samsung LED Co., Ltd.’s (“Samsung”) motion to disqualify Respondents OSRAM AG, OSRAM Opto Semiconductors GmbH, OSRAM Opto Semiconductors Inc., and OSRAM Sylvania Inc.’s (collectively “OSRAM”) expert witness, Dr. Wetzel, and bar his access to confidential business information in Certain Light-Emitting Diodes and Products Containing Same (Inv. No. 337-TA-798).
According to the Order, Samsung’s motion to disqualify was based on Dr. Wetzel’s employment with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (“RPI”) and his involvement with “RPI’s Future Chip Constellation Group and Lighting Research Center,” of which OSRAM is a member. Samsung also asserted that Dr. Wetzel should be denied access to Samsung’s confidential business information because his consulting and professional relationship with OSRAM and RPI’s Partner’s Program creates a high risk that Samsung’s confidential information will be used inappropriately. In response, OSRAM stated that Samsung’s argument was “entirely speculative,” and that Samsung “failed to demonstrate that Dr. Wetzel actually received any confidential information… .”
ALJ Rogers began by noting that an ALJ may disqualify an expert based on a prior relationship with an adversary when it is shown that: (1) the adversary had a confidential relationship with the expert; and (2) that confidential or privileged information relevant to the current investigation was disclosed to the expert. Next, the ALJ denied Samsung’s motion to disqualify, finding that Samsung failed to provide sufficient evidence establishing that Dr. Wetzel had access to confidential business information or that a confidential relationship existed between the expert and Samsung. Similarly, because Samsung did not provide any direct evidence suggesting that an ongoing consulting relationship existed between Dr. Wetzel and OSRAM, other than Dr. Wetzel’s role as an expert witness in the investigation, ALJ Rogers denied Samsung’s motion to bar access to confidential business information.