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Last week, an en banc panel of the Federal Circuit bench-slapped the other party in the e-mail scandal that led to Chief Judge Randall Rader's retirement. This week, the same court is preparing for a possible new colleague, as there is a nominee to fill Rader's now-vacant seat.

Enter Kara Farnandez Stoll, a partner in the largest firm that practices intellectual property exclusively: Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner LLP (or Finnegan for short). President Barack Obama announced Stoll's nomination Wednesday, and she'll face a post-midterm Republican-controlled Senate during her confirmation process now that the elections are over.

On May 30, 2014, Sharon Prost succeed Randall Rader as Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit, and earlier this month Judge Alan Lourie told us the "State of the Court" at the Federal Circuit Bar Association's 16th Annual Bench & Bar Conference.

Amidst all of this change and review for the court, last week Judge Randall Rader had his last day on the Federal Circuit bench and sent an open letter to his colleagues. Just a week later, criticisms of the Federal Circuit and its exclusive jurisdiction of patents are growing ever louder.

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.

Last month former Federal Circuit Chief Judge Randall Rader resigned from his post to squash any appearance of impropriety following the news that he had written a complimentary letter to an attorney that appeared before his court.

Following his departure, Judge Sharon Prost has taken the helm as new Federal Circuit Chief Judge -- let's learn a little more about her.

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Chief Judge Randall R. Rader, of the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, has announced today that he is resigning his post as Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit. In a speech he gave at a Federal Circuit Bar Association program this morning, Judge Rader stated:

May 30, 2012 was my first day as Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit. May 30, 2014 will be my last. In a week, I will step aside as Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit, opening the position for the new Chief Judge Sharon Prost.

Why the sudden resignation?

Attention attorneys practicing in the Federal Circuit: mark your calendars. There are two events coming up in May and June, and registration is now open for both of them.

The Federal Circuit has announced that it will be hosting the 2014 Federal Practice Summit, and the Federal Circuit Bar Association has announced the 16th Annual Bench & Bar Conference.

Read on to learn more about both events, and to find out how to register.

Nautilus v. Biosig Instruments: SCOTUS Oral Arguments Almost Here

With oral arguments slated for April, anticipation continues to build in the U.S. Supreme Court case Nautilus Inc. v. Biosig Instruments Inc.

Stemming from the Federal Circuit, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on the legal standard of invalidity for indefiniteness.

Last week the Supreme Court heard arguments in a duo of cases regarding attorney fees in patent cases, and the meaning of the Patent Act's Section 285 language that allows a "court in exceptional cases may award reasonable attorney fees to the prevailing party." The arguments were concluded before the two-hours allotted for argument, and the most exciting news from the Supreme Court was unrelated to attorney fees, notes SCOTUSblog.

It's been a big week at the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, with a decision in Motorola's patent war with Apple and a computer virus spreading via bogus court emails.

Ready for the roundup? It's Friday, so we'll make it quick:

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.