Chief Judge Rader Apologizes for Recusals

On Friday, May 23, 2014, right before the long holiday weekend, news began to circulate that Chief Judge Rader had announced that he would be stepping down as Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Immediately, the Wall Street Journal and began speculating that Judge Rader’s decision to step down was tied to an email endorsing attorney Edward Reines, a patent lawyer at Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP and president of the Federal Circuit Advisory Council. This speculation picked up when Rader released a letter (see below) to the public addressed to the other members of the Federal Circuit apologizing for the appearance of impropriety associated with his email to Reines (whom he did not name directly), which necessitated his several recent recusals.

I find myself speechless, which doesn’t happen often. On the one hand, those that know Judge Rader know that he is extremely strong-willed and always eager for a vigorous substantive debate. The thought that any familiarity with someone who appears before him would lead to any advantage strikes me as thoroughly nonsensical. On the other hand, ethics for lawyers and even more so for judges is not about truth, but rather appearances.


CAFC Chief Defends the Patent System and Defines “Patent Troll”

Chief Judge Randall R. RaderRecently Chief Judge Rader of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit made a strong defense of the patent system in a chat billed as a fireside chat at the AUTM annual meeting in San Antonio, Texas. In his opening salvo into the issue of patent litigation abuse, the Chief explained:

Interestingly, that has been misdirected towards the patent system. Even earlier this afternoon I received an invitation from a House Committee to come and talk about abuse of the patent system. I’m not sure I’ll be able to attend, but if I could attend I’ll tell you exactly what I would say: There is nothing wrong with the patent system.

The patent system has a narrow focus. It is not a consumer affairs program. It is not a manufacturer’s guarantee compliance program. It’s not a competition program.  It has one objective, summarized well by the Constitution: promote the progress of science and the useful arts. It’s there to create more investment and more incentive for innovation and invention. The things that the patent system is criticized for are not its job.


Best of the 6th Annual Patent Law Institute

We here at the Practising Law Institute are pretty excited at how this past week’s 6th Annual Patent Law Institute exceeded expectations in the caliber and frankness of the featured panelists. The panels ranged from patent prosecution and litigation, to strategic and transactional discussions, to the ultimate in panels: the judges’ panel where federal & district court judges discussed the most relevant issues facing their courts along with some of the top patent attorneys in the country. If you missed this amazing institute, you’re not out of luck! The Patent Law Institute will have a second run in San Francisco, California from March 19-20, 2012, and registration is still open. Until then, here is a list of highlights, a best of the best if you will, from select panels throughout the Patent Law Institute. (more…)

Patent Law Institute Live Blog: Dialogue Between the Bench and Bar

Welcome to the Patent Law Institute‘s last panel of the day. The panel is entitled, “Dialogue Between the Bench and Bar”, and has a great lineup including the Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit and leading members of the patent appellate bar who discuss hot patent topics affecting patent practice. The panel includes Donald R. Dunner, Hon. Randall R. Rader, Seth P. Waxman, Dean John M. Whealan, and Hon. William G. Young. Here are the highlights:

On the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit:

Hon. Rader, Chief Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit:

The term “specialized” court was an attack on the court in the creation era, but Congress specifically negated that by providing the court a broad jurisdiction. The culture of commercial litigation requires judges to seek the kind of resolution that allows the American CEO to quickly respond to market pressures. There’s a requirementof bright line rules in this culture of the court, but this does not facilitate the market. Thus, the Court of Appeals has a great strength in not being bound to bright line rules like other courts. (more…)