Patent Attorneys Testify to Consistency of Federal Circuit Court of Appeals

Patent attorneys often complain about the fractured relationship in the judicial system (i) within the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals and (ii) between the Federal Circuit and the trial courts.  The high rate of reversal on issues such as claim construction is often cited as an example of the disconnect.

Keeping these complaints in mind, yesterday’s testimony in the House of Representatives Intellectual Property Subcommittee was remarkable because of the clear affirmation from all four witnesses that the Federal Circuit should be the court that hears patent appeals. 

The witness list included a representative from the Federal Circuit Bar Association, a law school professor, an in-house counsel, and a practicing patent attorney.  These witnesses all supported legislative changes to overrule Holmes Group v. Vornado (holding that the Federal Circuit does not have jurisdiction over cases where patent issues are raised only in a counterclaim).

In support of their call for a change, the witnesses cited both (i) the legal consistency of the Federal Circuit and (ii) the technical knowledge of the Federal Circuit.  Congressman Lamar Smith (R Tex) chairs the subcommittee.