Next Federal Circuit Judge Nominee: Richard G. Taranto

The White House has announced the nomination of Richard G. Taranto to fill the final remaining open circuit judge position on the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.  Mr. Taranto is an appellate and Supreme Court litigator at the small but well established DC firm of Farr & Taranto. He has participated in dozens of Federal Circuit patent appeals, including several Rambus cases, Verizon v. Cox, Lucent v. Gateway, Syngenta v. Monsanto, and others. Mr. Taranto has argued three IP cases before the U.S. Supreme Court: MGM v. Grokster (contributory copyright infringement), Warner Jenkinson v. Hilton Davis (patent law doctrine of equivalents), and Two Pesos v. Taco Cabana (trade dress infringement). Westlaw lists Mr. Taranto as counsel in over 90 reported court decisions. He has taught a variety of classes as an adjunct professor, including patent law at Harvard in 2002.

Taranto graduated from Yale Law School in 1981. He clerked for Judge Abraham Sofaer on the Southern District of New York; Judge Robert Bork on the D.C. Circuit; and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the Supreme Court. 


80 thoughts on “Next Federal Circuit Judge Nominee: Richard G. Taranto

  1. 79

    involved what I would call firmware

    Great – the rest of the world calls that software.

    Once again you only show that you live in your own dream world.

    How very special for you.

  2. 78

    However, shill baby, despite YOUR contention that there is no substantive difference, there is a difference technically in point of fact.  Moreover, all examples of "approved" (found to have passed 101) uses of special purpose computer machines in processes, or as apparatus as in Alappat, involved what I would call firmware:  software that is automatically loaded and executed.  The courts have not focused on this, it is true, but it is there regardless.

    There are no exceptions.

    In contrast, when someone uses a computer as a tool, the software is loaded and executed by someone using the computer as a tool.  The computer itself is not dedicated to a specific application.

    While you resist discussing the distinction, I invite you to find any exceptions were the computer is not dedicated to a specific application where the programmed computer was held to be patent eligible.

  3. 75


    Since you haven’t said anything at all – are you taking your usual position and sucking on your “whislte” and pretending to be a ref on the Johny Comments Ref, as usual?

    Aside from the “witty” fluff like “*yawn*” that you so adroitly added above, that is?


  4. 74

    the point has been made repeatedly that there is no substantive difference between the two when it comes to patent eligible characteristics.

    Is that your position, shillywilly, or are you just sitting on the sidelines, sucking on your whistle and pretending to be Johnny Comments Ref, as usual?

  5. 73


    The difficulty of haing a conversation lies with you – you do not seek conversations – you run from them.

    Anytime someone raises a difficult point with you, you descend into a cloud of dust and game playing.

    On direct point, no one has ever said that firmware and software are exactly the same – the point has been made repeatedly that there is no substantive difference between the two when it comes to patent eligible characteristics.

    The notion of “equivalancey” continues to escape your grasp, and there is no doubt as to why – your position is pointless in this regards. There plainly is no critical differences – and the long list of highlighted quotes proved that – quotes you could not answer.

    So spare me your game of “you declie to address the points I rasied” – you have raised no substantive points.

    You are a fraud and a charlatan – you are a shill, plain and simple. And one, I imagine this morning that may be on the verge of losing your shilling license, gicen how poorly you have addressed the matters directly at hand.

  6. 72

    Remember, this administration supported the AIA (the Abominable Inane Act) in glowing terms. Need I say more?


  7. 71

    After some long heart felt thought. I have come to the conclusion that Marcella’s (even though I wish she were honest and fair)final Act was Her best. She was never one to share why She did what She did. She said very little. But obviously She knew I was not a mindless Child. All the time She knew who I was. and that I was capable. And that final Act I speak of( caring for Her) was proof that I was capable. I’m going to accept that She did that to be there for me Now! And that is how I am going to be able to live with what she didn’t tell me.

  8. 70

    I make nothing and have made nothing from sales of the article.

    However, the original article was published a law review. How many law reviews pay for articles?


  9. 69

    the Schilling, regarding software/firmware, you seem to ignore the fact that I repeatedly discussed the critical difference between the two. You say there’s no difference, but you decline to address the points I raised.

    You decline, to discuss the issues at all, but continue with conclusionary statements as if everyone knew what you were saying and you didn’t have to actually explain your position. You do this all the time, of course, which makes in a discussion with you virtually impossible.

  10. 68

    Night, I wouldn’t be opposed to a patent attorney being appointed to the Federal Circuit if the patent attorney was appointed because he was a good judge. I think, therefore, what we really need to do is appoint more patent attorneys to district courts in order to potentially groom them to be Federal Circuit judges.

  11. 65

    Every time I get into any conversation with one of them, I regret it.

    It’s not the conversation you regret, it’s the fact that your views are not held “holy” and “immediately agreed to” that you regret.

    Here’s a hint: develop better views that stand up to a modicum of legal rigor. You won’t regret the conversations, and others won’t regret reading your inane philosophies.

  12. 63


    Let’s not lose sight of the invigoration of the univeristy and the spin-off model, where the Prior User Right Defense is shelved.

    This should serve as a beacon for small entities to align with universities.

  13. 62

    What I see is theat the premise of being a patent practitioner in order to have an agenda is completely discredited as those most with agenda were not patent practitioners.

    The one has nothing to do with the other – on its face.

  14. 61

    Ned is a shill.

    A most unhappy one this morning judging from the debacle of his statements on the software/firmware equivalency issue that he mis-stepped in over the weekend.

    He is supposed to represent that software cannot be patent eligible, yet he goofed by holding that firmware is patent eligible (Firmware and Software having no substantive differences in the patent eligibility arena).

    Ned is expecting an unpleasant call from those that pay him.

    Ned, how big of a refund are they asking for?

  15. 60

    Ned, the more I read your posts, the more I think you have the smell of someone that is being paid to advocate for policies. Is someone paying you Ned for these posts? Do you reference these posts as part of your work that you are paid for?

    The reason it is important to put patent attorneys on the fed. cir. is that it is very hard to understaand the relationship betwwen technology with a patent. And, it is very hard to understand technology. Neither of these skills are likely to acquired after appointment.

  16. 58

    I cannot believe that you would hold otherwise.

    And shamelessly as that.

    Truly, you have no soul.

  17. 55

    You cannot beleive that a decision that reinforces another that was expressly overruled has been “enacted”. There can be no leaning on Faulkner, as Faulkner leans on the discredited case and both came before the 1952 act.

    This is prue poppycock and revisionist history at its worst.

    It is pure falsehood.

    Stop the L_ies.

  18. 54

    T O, you are telling a co-author what is in his article!  You have a lot of balls.  Your arrogance is beyond belief.

    Furthermore, you really do not have a clue about the sequence of events.  As detailed, Frederico wrote a draft.  1500 copies were distributed to the patent bar.  Ashton, APLA president, assembled a drafting committee, Rich and Rose, and invited suggested amendments from the patent bar.  One such came from the Milwaukee PLA.  This was intended to overturn Halliburtion and would have sanctioned all functional claiming, even at the point of novelty.  It would have authorized single means claims, and would have overturned not only Halliburton, but GE v. Wabash and Perkins Glue as well.  It was submitted to Congress in revised form.  It was heavily criticized.  It was rejected.  I was rewritten a number of times, and ended up the way we see it.  

    What is important to know is that the original proposal was INTENDED to overturn Halliburton.  That proposal was rejected!   In the end, the version Congress enacted appears to have enacted Faulkner v. Gibbs, a case that authorized MPF language in combination claims, a case that distinguished Halliburton where the novelty was in the one element.  

    What is important to understand in all this is that Rich's proposal was rejected and that Halliburton was not overturned.  Congress rejected that proposal, and in the end, enacted Faulkner v. Gibbs.

    Any who read these series of posts, beware.  The sockpuppets are full of it — and amazingly so. 

  19. 53

    Oooo. Watch it. You are implying that you are making nothing from the online sale of RS.

    In the interest of full disclosure, please confirm explicitly whether you, your heirs, assigns, and/or pets are or are not deriving any income or other financial benefit from the online sale of the article you keep hawking.

    Both your honesty and your objectivity are in question here. A non-answer will be treated as an affirmation that you derive income from online sales of the SR article — income which you have not previously revealed.

    On the other hand, if you have gone to all that trouble to write that fine article and you assign the CR to “the publisher” for its sole financial benefit, as you now imply, your intelligence must come into question.

  20. 51

    A good Memory is like the warmth of a fuzzy Catahula Cur. The one I had my son called him Patriot. Didn’t have him long though.

  21. 50

    Such vehemence only comes from one exposed and caught in a L_ie.

    It was Frederico who came up with the original draft and it was Rich and company that changed that orginal draft. Frederico only piped in later trying to subvert the changes.

    Rich was on target and it is Rich that conincides with the actaul coclusion from the Rosetta Stone paper. Whoever this Ned Heller CHarlatan is, his rantings do not agree with the conclusions of that paper. This Ned Heller is trying to re-write history.

    By all means read the paper and see that functional claiming was ubder attack – just like this Ned Heller is trying to do.

  22. 44

    I called a math major an English major? That’s like calling a steak a tofu burger. Mea culpa.

    And about patent attorneys with an ax to grind: Kimberly Moore could be considered as falling into that category, but most patent prosecution people think she works for the dark side.

  23. 43

    ned has been hawking this Rosetta Stone for months. The reason is not to enlighten anyone, it is because the download cost is about $22.

    ned, if you wanna’ make a killing, remember just one word . . . plastics.

  24. 41

    If you get a chance to send Barak another letter before he gets booted out, tell him that what we need is a specialized system of IP courts, like the BR or tax courts. Trial courts right through appeal.

    And by-passing the USSCt would be a huge advance.

  25. 40

    Ned, here’s some advice: the best way to respond to a comment by a dxpshxt sockpuppet is to remind the dxpshxt sockpuppet that he/she is a dxpshxt sockpuppet whose tripe doesn’t merit a response.

    Then forget about the dxpshxt sockpuppet. Seriously. These dxpshxt sockpuppets are here for one reason only. Ignore them until they prove they aren’t dxpshxt sockpuppets.

  26. 39

    How helpful is a bachelors in computer science in a case where the level of ordinary skill is a PhD in Biochemistry.

    And why is any technical degree necessary to discuss a method of “locking” a “hand-held device” by tapping a touch-screen? You could be an Amish coma patient and figure out the “technology” involved there without much difficulty.

  27. 37

    Who is Malcolm?

    Everyone has an agenda.

    You are still missing the point – badly. If you think you need to know about patents to have an agenda, then visit Techdirt for a whole bunch of people who are clueless and still, have agendas.

  28. 36

    Terrell, if you want a blow by blow, read Rosetta Stone by Rudy Hofmann and yours truly. We give a complete history of 112, p.6, from original draft to final enactment.

    Rich’s proposal, a revision of the original proposal from the Milwaukee patent Law Association, was rejected by Congress after was first introduced in response to heavy criticism. Which is first proposal was intended to overturn Halliburton. The Congress enacted was quite different.

  29. 35

    Oops, you fricken lying piece of GD Sh i t t t!!!!!!

    Where do you get off ly ing like this?

    You are sickening.

    I replied to your post with a very long post, citing chapter and verse about where the original draft of 112, p. 6 came from.

    It originated in a proposal from the Milwaukee Patent Law Association. We even cited the very letter from Harry Ashton referring the text to the drafting committee for their review.

    You, sir, are the lowest form of muck-raking a-hole I have ever seen.

    You GD cur!

  30. 33

    Reality Check, just so you cannot deny what you said, this is what you said, and I quote:

    "Ned, You miss the point – badly.ANY Jurist, no matter if that jurist has a background in patent law or not, is in the same exact position of having and pursuing agendas."
    Your reply was inapposite to my post because you did not address the point I made. 
    While I will agree that all jurists might be in the same exact position of having and pursuing agendas, I pointed out to, in my reply to you, that I what I was expressly referring to patent law agendas and not agendas in general.
    If it is your point that regardless of anyone's background two jurist are equally as likely to have patent law agendas, I disagree.  Agendas are born of experience, disappointment, and opinions. If a person has no prior experience in an area, it is highly unlikely that they will have an agenda in that area.
    Do you agree? Or do you disagree?
    To help you decide, consider whether the appointment of Malcolm, myself, 6 or any other poster here who you strongly disagree with would not carry with them to the court strong opinions which might affect their decisions.  

  31. 31

    decide cases based on the law, and not based on what they believe ought to be the law.

    Or what they wrote the law to be (oops forgot about that) – and also forgot about NEd’s falsehoods previously as to Frederico – who wrote the draft that was changed by Rich – and not the other way around.

    L_ies havea way of coming back around to bite Ned in the _zz.

  32. 30

    I take it you approve of judges ignoring the rights of the parties before them to pursue agendas in patent law?

    You mean like Douglas and Stevens? The two biggest agenda pushers ever on the Supreme Court?

  33. 29

    Oh I read what you sadi Ned, but the thing is, you were replying to what I said about how your statement is in error, and you missed the mark badly.

    When you lecture others on reading, make sure that your reading is in order first.

  34. 28

    True, non patent attorneys can have an anti-patent attitude, especially if they are antitrust attorneys. But the problem with patent attorneys is that they are likely to have “views” about patent law that at least biases their thinking.

    Now, just how does a patent attorney get nominated to the court? In the past, a patent attorney came to prominence if he was highly political to begin with, such that he was prominent in one of the patent law bar associations. Rich was a leader in the NYPLA at the time he was nominated. He was also a close confidant of Harry Aston, president of the APLA. The patent bar got behind him precisely because they viewed him as a champion of the bar’s views. He had, after all, carried their agenda to Congress in many matters in trying to overturn a number of Supreme Court cases the bar disdained. (E.g, cases involving contributory infringement, invention, means plus function.)

    Non patent attorneys get to the court through legal experience that demonstrates strong legal credentials. These are much better qualifications to be a judge than prior experience in the patent law.

    There is merit to the suggestion that some technical education might be valuable. But, IMHO, that should be secondary to the primary objective of appointing highly qualified lawyers who will decide cases based on the law, and not based on what they believe ought to be the law.

  35. 27

    I take it you approve of judges ignoring the rights of the parties before them to pursue agendas in patent law?

    And don’t even begin to deny that Rich was not pursuing agendas.

  36. 26

    Reality, patent law agendas are the stuff of prior experience — in patent law.

    It might be beneficial to actually read what I said. I said something about patent law agendas, not agendas in general.

  37. 24

    You can add my name to your letter next time. We don’t need english majors who make unsupportable technical factual findings at the appellate level to support their rulings.

  38. 22

    Ned, get real. A person with a technical background and a patent background is more likely to have an agenda? That is your assertion. Wrong.

  39. 21

    How helpful is a bachelors in computer science in a case where the level of ordinary skill is a PhD in Biochemistry.

  40. 20

    Roll your eyes all you want, MM. The Obams administration is all show and talk, and almost no results (as far as I’m concerned) when it comes to supporting American innovation.

    Remember, this administration supported the AIA (the Abominable Inane Act) in glowing terms. Need I say more?

  41. 19

    I sent a letter to President Obama regarding this very issue – his fourth straight appointment of a non-technical judge to the CAFC. I agree in principle that the CAFC need not have ALL technical judges, particularly since only about a third of the cases involve patent issues. Thus, an admixture (to use a patenty term;) of technical and non-technical (English majors) is adequate to handle the case docket.

    However, some cases involve complex technical issues, with subtleties, that a non-technical judge may not grasp, despite their legal brilliance. With non-technical attorneys writing the briefs, misunderstandings and misconceptions could abound. Indeed, it is possible that students who shun Science (or did poorly in it) and later become jurists may even have a prejudice against technology, overtly or passively.

    Of course, experienced judges could prove their technical mettle over time. Chief Judge Rader is an exemplary non-technical Judge who has proved himself. I am sure that Taranto likewise has the “chops” to meet the challenge.

    Nonetheless, the continued appointment of non-technical judges to the CAFC bench, the Circuit Court exclusively charged with handling all patent appeals, and the retirement of the remaining technical judges raises some questions.

    With regard to the anti-patent lawyer appointee and “agenda-pursuing judge” comments, I fail to see the relevance of this indictment. Non-technical judges have agendas too – perhaps hostility to the patent laws entirely. With the complexities of the patent laws, their complicated interplay with technological issues, and non-technical litigators pushing their often murky agendas, it behooves the Obama administration to appoint at least some judges to the CAFC that have experience as a patent attorney, preferably patent litigation, have some demonstrable understanding of Science, such as a BS degree, and are registered as a patent attorney.

    America needs an informed judiciary to meet the challenges of 21st Century technologies. Having a hard Science degree (not Political Science), at least a bachelors, indicates that that jurist understands some fundamental issues about some branch of technology. The American judicial system uses lay juries to initially resolve patent disputes. We need at least a third of the CAFC judiciary equipped to review these increasingly complicated and economically valuable patent appeals.

    Perhaps President Obama will take note of these observations in connection with his next appointment.

    Ray Van Dyke

  42. 18

    He is versed in patent law like a professor

    That’s not a feature, that’s a bug.

  43. 17

    Not sure that being the son of a patent attorney makes you a patent attorney. Perhaps it did in early times.

    And lucky for me i wasn’t responding to “Ned.” Whew. That would have been mortifying.

  44. 16

    Taranto is an awesome choice. He is versed in patent law like a professor, and has a remarkable aptitude for all things technology. I predict he will be a force to be reckoned with on the Court very quickly.

  45. 15

    Just a reminder – Giles S. Rich, practicing patent attorney straight out of law school.

    Another reminder – Ned said “patent lawyer”, not “guy with technical degree”.

  46. 14

    Ned, You miss the point – badly.

    ANY Jurist, no matter if that jurist has a background in patent law or not, is in the same exact position of having and pursuing agendas.

    Your anti-patent attorney statement is meaningless, merely reflecting your own personal bias.

  47. 13

    Cranky –

    Richard is a brilliant guy, and hardly an “English major” (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
    For the record, he was a math major, with some time in a math PhD program.

  48. 11

    Reality, I agree. A jurist on a patent court who would like to pursue an agenda in contract law can do no harm.

    But a patent attorney on a patent court who would like to pursue an agenda in patent law —  now that is quite a different matter.

  49. 10

    This is an incredibly naive statement – as if patent attorneys are the only ones who have or pursue agendas.

    Get real.

  50. 9

    But given the rather poor construction of some recent CAFC opinions, I would have to agree that they are desperately trying to deal “with” English.

    If by “construction” you mean “claim construction”, I think we understand each other.

  51. 8

    Even though as a registered patent attorney I’m half engineer, I think I’d rather have a well-trained English major than a well-trained engineer on the bench.

    That is not to imply that he is well-trained, however.

  52. 7

    “I’d have said the court deals primarily with English.”


    Funny because I think what you probably meant was “in English” rather than “with English”.

    But given the rather poor construction of some recent CAFC opinions, I would have to agree that they are desperately trying to deal “with” English.

  53. 6

    I’ve worked directly with (and against) Taranto. Super guy and super smart. He’s handled enough patent cases to be a “patent guy” in a good way, and not so many that he’s blinded to bigger issues. He’s a great choice.

  54. 5

    With an administration that’s so into stuff like “green technology” that they supported a $500+ million “dry hole” in Solyndra, what can you expect?

    [eye roll]

  55. 4

    apparently another English major for a court that deals primarily with technology.

    I’d have said the court deals primarily with English.

    Besides, they’ll never find a judge who majored in “technology”. No matter what technical background any individual judge has, most patent cases will fall squarely outside it.

  56. 3

    The distinct advantage of having a non-patent lawyer on the bench is that he will come to his position with no patent law agendas. He can then be expected to actually consider the merits of a particular case rather than pursue an agenda.

    I personally have seen enough of agenda-pursuing judges that trample on individual rights in individual cases in pursuit of what they perceive to be important. Enough!

    I oppose in principle ever again having a patent attorney nominated to the Federal Circuit.

  57. 2

    With an administration that’s so into stuff like “green technology” that they supported a $500+ million “dry hole” in Solyndra, what can you expect? BTW, Taranto’s credentials suggest he has more than a passing familiarity with IP law, including patent law.

  58. 1

    A first rate legal mind, for sure, but apparently another English major for a court that deals primarily with technology. As Paul Cole said yesterday, can’t they appoint someone with a technical background like Judges Newman or Linn?

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