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Year in Review 2013: Highlights From the Federal Circuit

The Federal Circuit is in the unique position of hearing very specialized and specific types of cases. If you're an IP attorney, or work with veterans, then it's important to keep a close eye on the cases coming out of this circuit, and 2013 was a pretty interesting year for the Federal Circuit.

Federal Circuit in the News

The infamous government bailout of 2008 still haunts us as the issue of whether Ben Bernanke could be deposed, while still in his position, was raised in a lawsuit from Maurice Greenberg, owner of Starr International, Co., a 12% stake holder in AIG. The last word by the Federal Circuit was that Bernanke may not be deposed while he is Chairman, but considering he steps down in less than a month, we're guessing this is not the last we'll hear on this issue.

The Federal Circuit also made history in September when Judge Hughes was confirmed as the first openly gay judge to sit on a Court of Appeals.

Patents Galore ...

The caption for this section could have easily read "Samsung & Apple" for the sheer amount of case law the two companies are generating in their tit for tat battle of the patents. In other patent wars we saw wins by Nintendo and Allergan, and an ironic loss suffered by Keurig related to its coffee pods. And then of course there are the patent trolls ...

Cases Headed to SCOTUS

Some of the cases before SCOTUS this term originated in the Federal Circuit. In Medtronic, Inc. v. Boston Scientific Corp. the Court must determine which party has the burden of proof in a declaratory judgment brought by a licensee, while in Octane Fitness v. Icon Health & Fitness, the Court will address fee-shifting.

But the most important case, with perhaps the most wide-reaching repercussions, was just recently granted certiorari; in Alice Corporation Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank International, the Court must decide whether computer software is patent-eligible under the Patent Act. As always, we'll be keeping a close eye on these cases as they progress.

What were some of your favorite Federal Circuit cases from 2013? Let us know on Facebook at FindLaw for Legal Professionals.

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