Duke’s Center for Judicial Studies hosted the Patent Law Institute May 13 to 17, an intensive executive training program focused on recent developments in case law and changes effected by the America Invents Act. More than two dozen lawyers came to Duke Law for the program, Co-sponsored by the American Intellectual Property Law Association. Dozens of administrative patent judges from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) also participated during the week through videoconference; as many as 90 took in all or part of the training over the course of the week.
Consistent with the mission of the Center for Judicial Studies, the Patent Law Institute brought together the bench, bar, and academy to share their expertise and experiences with the impact of the new patent law and the litigation practices that have developed addressing the legislation. Faculty took deep dives into the pertinent issues during the daylong class sessions. They addressed such topics as the policy rationale, major provisions, and legislative history of the America Invents Act; recent case law developments in patent validity, impact on prosecution, licensing, and litigation; claim construction, infringement, and remedies; and patents, licensing, standards, and antitrust.
The outstanding faculty included Duke’s Arti Rai, the Elvin R. Latty Professor of Law, Senior Lecturing Fellows Kenneth Sibley '85, a partner at Myers, Bigel, Sibley, and Sajovec, and former Red Hat General Counsel Mark Webbink, Foley, Hoag partner Barbara Fiacco, and Finnegan, Henderson partner Tom Irving. Guest speakers included Chief Judge Randall Rader of the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Tim Ellis of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Chief Administrative Patent Judge James Smith ’86 of the USPTO, Deanna Okun, a partner at Adduci, Mastriani & Schaumberg and former chair International Trade Commission, USPTO Associate Solicitor Joseph Matal, James Dabney, a partner at Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson LLP, and Professor Jorge Contreras of American University Washington College of Law.
The guest speakers provided frank comments and practical guidance on the many issues arising out of the new patent legislation.
The Patent Law Institute was designed, in part, to offer valuable and essential training through long-distance learning to patent judges at a time when sequestration has generally limited judicial educational opportunities, said John Rabiej, director of the Center for Judicial Studies. “The America Invents Act created many new patent judgeship positions and substantially expanded the judges’ jurisdiction authority. So the judicial training needs of patent judges have become especially pressing,” he said.
On behalf of the USPTO, Chief Administrative Patent Judge Smith expressed gratitude for the excellent program, saying that it made a substantial impact of the judges. “The Patent Institute was a simply invaluable opportunity for the judges to hear various points of view, including from the chief judge of our reviewing court [the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals] and leading academics,” he said. “We greatly appreciate the insights the Institute afforded us."