On May 15, 2008, Federal Circuit Chief Judge Michel presented his “State of the Court” address at the well attended Federal Circuit Judicial Conference. As usual with the Chief Judge, his remarks were upbeat but unsatisfied. Several particular issues were emphasized:
- Aging of the CAFC Judges: Within two years, eight of the twelve regular active CAFC judges will be eligible for senior status.
- Settlements: About half of all CAFC appeals settle prior to decision.
- Speeding Up: “Expedition is a top priority.” Median time from docketing to disposition was nine-months for FY07. The current inventory of cases is now just over six months.
- More Clerks: Judge Michel has requested a fourth law clerk for each judge to keep up with the complexity of the appeals.
- En Banc and Supreme Court Review: Continue to be exceedingly rare. “Despite news reports of a surge in the last three years in the Supreme Court review of our patent cases, the data shows little change. I believe these data illustrate how well our panels do in nearly all appeals. We can all be proud of the work of the Federal Circuit.”
- Read the remarks. Judge Michel’s charts are reproduced below. (Click to expand).