What’s in the Pipeline for Judicial Vacancies?


We continue to follow the important changes underway behind the bench at the Federal Circuit and in several district courts where a significant number of patent infringement cases are pending. On September 24, the Senate unanimously confirmed Todd Hughes to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. He will fill the seat that was vacated by Judge William Bryson, who assumed senior status in January 2013. Hughes becomes the third judge confirmed to the Federal Circuit this year, following Judge Raymond Chen’s confirmation in August, and Judge Richard Taranto’s confirmation in March. 

Hughes has served at the Justice Department for nearly three decades. Most recently, he served as deputy director of the commercial litigation branch of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. Unlike Judge Raymond Chen, Hughes does not have a background in intellectual property law. His expertise is in the areas of government pay and personnel law, whistleblower claims, international trade litigation and veterans’ benefits claims. With Hughes’ confirmation, the Federal Circuit now has a full bench of twelve judges, excluding those with senior status.

We will continue to track the judicial confirmation process as it progresses. To view the chart of judicial vacancies in jurisdictions with active patent litigation dockets, please click here.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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