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The Federal Circuit turns 25

October 01, 2007
Post by Blog Staff

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the existence of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. On April 2, 1982, President Reagan signed the Federal Courts Improvement Act, Pub. L. No. 97-164, 96 Stat. 25, which created the Federal Circuit. The Act took effect on October 1, 1982, which marked the date when the Federal Circuit came into existence. The court represents the combination of the Court of Customs and Patent Appeals and the United States Court of Claims. The court officially celebrated its anniversary on April 2, the anniversary of the signing of the Act. Interestingly, the conversion to the court's new domain name takes place on its anniversary today.

The first case heard and decided by the Federal Circuit after its creation was South Corp. v. United States, 609 F.2d 1368 (Fed. Cir. 1982), an appeal affirming the imposition of foreign repair duties. It is notable in that the court sat en banc, and officially adopted as binding precedent the previous decisions of its predecessor courts, the Court of Customs and Patent Appeals and the United States Court of Claims.

While most readers of this blog likely think of the Federal Circuit as the source for patent cases, the court's docket is actually only 31% intellectual property cases. The majority (55%) are administrative appeals comprising personnel claims from, for example, the Merit Systems Protection Board, and veterans claims from the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. The remaining cases include appeals involving claims for money damages against the government (11%), most often from the Court of Federal Claims, and less common cases, such as appeals from the International Trade Commission and the Office of Compliance of the United States Congress.

Relevant links:

Since Filewrapper's first post on November 14, 2006, we've blogged about every precedential IP case decided by the Federal Circuit, as well as a few nonprecedential cases, for a total of 115 entries regarding the court's cases.


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The attorneys of McKee, Voorhees & Sease, P.L.C. designed this blog as an informational and educational resource about intellectual property law for our clients, other attorneys, and the public as a whole. Our goal is to provide cutting-edge information about recent developments in intellectual property law, including relevant case law updates, proposed legislation, and intellectual property law in the news.

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