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Volume 65, Issue 4: Federal Circuit Issue
Foreword to the Federal Circuit Issue

By The Honorable Alan D. Lourie65 Am. U. L. Rev. 763 (2016)

Our court has been the subject of much criticism in recent years. Questions have been raised as to whether it has been a success, or at least as to whether its exclusive jurisdiction over patent appeals should continue. It has been said that the court is too pro-patent, but others have said that we are insufficiently so. Much has been made of the increase in Supreme Court review and frequent reversals of our decisions. Although I do not follow critiques of the other circuit courts of appeals, probably few appellate courts, other than the Supreme Court, have been subjected to as much criticism as ours.

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2015 Patent Decisions of the Federal Circuit

By Craig E. Countryman65 Am. U. L. Rev. 769 (2016)

The Federal Circuit’s patent law decisions in 2015 reflected several notable trends. The court decided many novel questions of statutory interpretation, encountered its first round of appeals from the new post-grant Patent Office Proceedings, and continued to wrestle with difficult questions regarding patent-eligibility. Several decisions began implementing the Supreme Court’s new directives regarding claim construction, indefiniteness, attorney fees, and inducement. This Article collects and summarizes the Federal Circuit’s 2015 patent decisions and analyzes what many of them mean for the future.

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2015 Survey of Government Contract Cases Before the Federal Circuit

By Kathleen Hsu65 Am. U. L. Rev. 933 (2016)

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a number of decisions on government contracts law in 2015, including three precedential appeals from the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals (“CBCA”) and twelve precedential appeals from the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. This Article discusses these fifteen precedential opinions as well as two non-precedential Federal Circuit opinions on government contracts matters, including jurisdiction/standing, bid protests, attorney fees, contract/regulatory/statutory interpretation, and contract termination.

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2015 International Trade Decisions of the Federal Circuit

By Kevin J. Fandl65 Am. U. L. Rev. 997 (2016)

In many ways, the 2015 term of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit with respect to international trade felt like déjà vu. The Federal Circuit heard a number of significant cases this year that it addressed in one or more of the past several terms and either came back as an appeal on a related issue or for an en banc hearing. Despite these lengthening cases, very few appeals have found success, especially with regard to overturning antidumping orders.

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2015 Trademark Law Decisions of the Federal Circuit

By Linda K. McLeod & Lindsay B. Allen | 65 Am. U. L. Rev. 1027 (2016) 

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit had an active trademark docket in 2015.  The Federal Circuit issued a total of fifteen trademark decisions, eleven of which were designated as precedential, including one en banc decision.  This is a noticeable increase in precedential decisions from years past and the first en banc trademark decision issued in many years.

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2015 Veterans Law Decisions of the Federal Circuit

By Paul M. Schoenhard | 65 Am. U. L. Rev. 1059 (2016)

In 2015, the number of precedential opinions issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit regarding veterans affairs remained low, and again the Federal Circuit’s focus remained predominantly on matters of procedure and jurisdiction rather than substantive veterans benefits law. Significantly, only one of the Federal Circuit’s twelve precedential opinions in this area represents a decision in favor of a veteran.

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ESSAY: NFC Technology LLC v. HTC America, Inc.: Judge Bryson’s Sitting-By-Designation Guide to Securing Stays in Light of Inter Partes Reviews

By Jonathan Stroud | 65 Am. U. L. Rev. 1075 (2016)

Federal Article III judges may stay civil litigation. Stays are most appropriate where another court or authority may resolve a part of or the entire dispute. Some statutes guide the courts on when to stay; some case law and appellate precedent guide judges on when a stay is appropriate. But the interlocutory nature of such decisions makes precedential decisions scarce. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), an administrative body tasked with patent post-grant review, efficiently reviews patentability of and can estopp later validity arguments. Stays in light of these proceedings are particularly favored. Although it will be some time before a body of appellate precedent develops surrounding these stays, one senior appellate judge from the patent-focused U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, sitting by designation, has issued a district court decision in a contentious district, where he exhaustively compiled district court stay cases and offered a guide for other judges faced with determining whether to stay. This Essay analyzes that decision.

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