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U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit at UB


U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit Heard Trademark, Trade Law Cases in UB School of Law Moot Courtroom on Feb. 4

On Feb. 4, the University of Baltimore School of Law was host to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.  As Dean Ronald Weich noted in his introductory remarks, it’s fitting that the court with nationwide jurisdiction over the most cutting-edge scientific issues convened in the newest and most cutting-edge law school building in the country.

The three-judge panel―Chief Judge Randall R. Rader and Circuit Judges Jimmie V. Reyna and Evan J. Wallach― heard four cases dealing with matters of trademark law, trade law and procedural issues in a patent dispute.  (See biographical details below.) The School of Law’s moot courtroom was filled to capacity with students, faculty and prospective students.  After the hearing, the audience was treated to a conversation with the judges’ clerks about federal judicial clerkships.  The judges themselves then answered questions about the art of appellate advocacy. 

“This was a spectacular opportunity to showcase our school and to build deeper ties to the preeminent federal court on scientific and other specialized issues,” said UB Law Professor Greg Dolin , a former clerk for the Federal Circuit. “It was an especially important opportunity in light of the fact that the law school is creating a veterans advocacy clinic, because the Federal Circuit also has exclusive jurisdiction over veteran benefits appeals.” 

The new Bob Parsons Veterans Advocacy Clinic is set to open in fall 2014.   

The cases heard by the judges on Feb. 4 were:

  • Costantine v. C.F.M. Distributing Co.
  • Fedmet Resources Corp. v. U.S.
  • Pacific Scientific Energetic v. Ensign-Bickford Aerospace
  • PATO Stone Lion Capital Partners v. Lion Capital

Background about the court

The following information about the court was taken from its website:

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit was established under Article III of the Constitution on Oct. 1, 1982. The court was formed by the merger of the United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals and the appellate division of the United States Court of Claims. The court is based in the Howard T. Markey National Courts Building in Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C.

The Federal Circuit is unique among the 13 Circuit Courts of Appeals. It has nationwide jurisdiction in a variety of subject areas, including international trade, government contracts, patents, trademarks, certain money claims against the U.S. government, federal personnel, veterans' benefits and public safety officers' benefits claims.

Appeals to the court come from all federal district courts, the United States Court of Federal Claims, the United States Court of International Trade and the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. The court also takes appeals of certain administrative agencies' decisions, including the United States Merit Systems Protection Board, the Boards of Contract Appeals, the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences, and the Trademark Trial and Appeals Board. Decisions of the United States International Trade Commission, the Office of Compliance (an independent agency in the legislative branch), the Government Accountability Office Personnel Appeals Board and the Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance also are reviewed by the court.

The court's jurisdiction consists of administrative law cases (55 percent), intellectual property cases (31 percent) and cases involving money damages against the U.S. government (11 percent). The administrative law cases consist of personnel and veterans claims. Nearly all of the intellectual property cases involve patents. Suits for money damages against the U.S. government include government contract cases, tax refund appeals, unlawful takings, and civilian and military pay cases.

The judges of the court are appointed by the president, with the advice and consent of the Senate. Judges are appointed to the court for life under Article III of the Constitution of the United States. There are 12 judges in active service, as well as judges in senior service. Each active-service judge employs a judicial assistant and up to four law clerks.


The judges

Randall R. Rader, chief judge

Chief Judge Rader was appointed to the court by President George H.W. Bush in 1990 and assumed the duties of chief judge on June 1, 2010. Before that, he was appointed to the U.S. Claims Court (now the U.S. Court of Federal Claims) by President Ronald Reagan in 1988. Chief Judge Rader has also taught patent law and other advanced intellectual property classes at the George Washington University Law School, the University of Virginia School of Law and Georgetown University Law Center, among other institutions. In addition, he has co-written several texts, including the most widely used textbook on U.S. patent law, Cases and Materials on Patent Law.

Jimmie V. Reyna, circuit judge

Judge Reyna was appointed to the court by President Barack Obama in 2011. Previously, Judge Reyna was an international trade attorney and shareholder at Williams Mullen, where from 1998 to 2011 he directed the firm’s Trade and Customs Practice Group and its Latin America Task Force and served on its board of directors. Before that, Judge Reyna was a lawyer in New Mexico. He has written two books, one about NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement) and another about the GATT Uruguay Round (the eighth round of multilateral trade negotiations conducted within the framework of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, considered the largest reform of the world’s trading system since GATT was created at the end of World War II).

Evan J. Wallach, circuit judge

Judge Wallach was appointed to court in 2011 by President Barack Obama. Beforehand, he served for 16 years as a judge of the U.S. Court of International Trade, to which he was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1995. An expert in the law of war, Judge Wallach has taught at several law schools, including Brooklyn Law School, the NYU School of Law, George Mason University School of Law and the University of Müenster in Germany. He was on active duty in the U.S. Army from 1969 to 1971 and received several medals, including the Bronze Star and a Vietnam Campaign Medal.