Curriculum

Federal Circuit Advocacy

B532 is taught by G. Castanias

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is an important but controversial part of the federal judicial system. It was formed by an Act of Congress in 1982 with the predominant goal of "strengthen[ing] the United States patent system in such a way as to foster technological growth and industrial innovation." In the intervening 35 years, with the Federal Circuit becoming the exclusive appellate court for patent cases, the United States has indeed seen significant technological growth, but the court has also been widely criticized as being out of step with the Supreme Courtwhich has regularly reversed the Federal Circuits patent decisions in recent yearswith some judges and academic writers even calling for the courts ouster as the exclusive appellate venue for patent cases. Nonetheless, given its central role in administering the U.S. patent systemit has appellate jurisdiction over virtually every kind of patent-related case that a court or administrative agency could decideit is critical for any practitioner (particularly, but not limited to, IP practitioners), whether a future litigator or otherwise, to possess a systematic understanding of the Federal Circuit, its history, procedures, doctrines, and dynamics. Through selected readings, vigorous class discussion, visits by former (and perhaps current) Federal Circuit judges, and a mock Federal Circuit argument (among other facets of the course), students should complete the class with a far better understanding of this unique court. No specialized knowledge of or background in IP or patent law is required for this coursethe professor, who has appeared before the Federal Circuit more than almost any other lawyer in the country, majored in English and Philosophy and never took an IP course in law school.