By The Honorable Jane A. Restani | 64 Am. U. L. Rev. 729
As the baby boom generation is replaced by the millennials as the largest age group in the United States, the federal court community is noticing the change in the composition of the federal judiciary. Like my own court, where four of nine active judges have moved to senior status in the past few months and we have two recently appointed colleagues, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has welcomed three new jurists: Judges Richard G. Taranto, Raymond T. Chen, and Todd M. Hughes. Further, Judges Kathleen M. O’Malley, Jimmie V. Reyna, and Evan J. Wallach joined the Circuit in the recent past.
This change in the composition of the court is noted in the patent law overview article authored by members and associates of the firm of Niro, Haller & Niro, 2014 Patent Law Decisions on Key Issues at the Federal Circuit. The comprehensive article goes on to cover many procedural and substantive issues that have occupied the court—particularly those that have drawn attention from the U.S. Supreme Court. It analyzes the interplay between the Federal Circuit and the High Court, particularly with respect to patent eligibility for software and business method patents. That particular topic is given more detailed treatment in the Note, The Federal Circuit and Ultramercial: Software and Business Method Patents Tumble Further down the Rabbit Hole, by Mark Patrick. Whatever the views of the various members of the Circuit, it seems clear that applying Supreme Court precedent to subsequent cases involving software and business methods is no simple task.