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Judge Alan Lourie Tells Us the 'State of the Court'

Earlier this month, the Federal Circuit Bar Association held its 16th Annual Bench & Bar Conference in Asheville, North Carolina. The theme was "Sharpening Case Management: The Challenges at Home and Abroad," and the conference had meetings about topics including IP protection trends, agency action trends, ethics and civility, damages litigation, customs enforcement and cybersecurity, to name a few.

One of the highlights of the conference, was the delivery of the "State of the Court" by Circuit Judge Alan D. Lourie.

On Chief Judge Prost

Judge Lourie opened his remarks by noting that new Chief Judge Prost could not come to the event, because "one with a new job doesn't usually waltz off to a fancy mountain resort after a couple of weeks in the job, even if she actually has no boss." Believing that she was "needed more back at home," she asked Judge Lourie to deliver the address in her stead. Regarding her new role, Judge Lourie noted that she "is universally supported by the court ... [and] highly respected as a judge."

On Federal Circuit Case Load

Judge Lourie then discussed the Federal Circuit's case load noting an increase in patent cases, and expected increase in federal employee Merit Systems Protection Board cases (resulting from sequestration furloughs), and dips in veterans appeals cases and a "surely aberrational" drop in trade cases.

On Supreme Court Review

Discussing the increased Supreme Court review of Federal Circuit cases, Judge Lourie noted several reasons including "the high profile and economic impact of [Federal Circuit] cases," exclusive jurisdiction and a lack of other circuits addressing the same issues, and cases in which the Federal Government is a party, stating, "When the federal government is involved, the Supreme Court is often interested."

Judge Lourie also thanked former Chief Judge Randall Rader for his service. We note that yesterday marked Judge Rader's retirement from the Federal Circuit. We wish him well in his future endeavors.

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