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Open Access Publications from the University of California

How Federal Circuit Judges Vote in Patent Validity Cases

  • Author(s): Lemley, Mark A.
  • et al.

We recently studied the outcomes of every final written patent validity decision at both the district court and Federal Circuit levels between 1989 and 1996. The study produced a variety of interesting statistics on patent validity questions. Using the dataset from that study, and matching it with the panels serving on each case, we describe in this paper how individual Federal Circuit judges voted in patent validity cases during that period.

The results may surprise many patent litigators. While there are some interesting differences in voting patterns, our overall conclusion is that the votes of Federal Circuit judges during this period defied easy description. Judges do not fit easily into "pro-patent" or "anti-patent" categories, or into "affirmers" and "reversers." We think this is a good thing for the court system. Still, there are some interesting facts to be found in the data.

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