Federal Circuit Nominee: Judges Should Judge The Cases They Have, Not Seek Cases They Want To Judge

Tiffany Cunningham, President Biden’s nominee to the Federal Circuit—the first nominee to that court in six years—is incredibly well qualified to join the bench of the court she once clerked for.  She’s spent her career litigating patent cases for plaintiffs and defendants, working on high-tech and life sciences cases, and she’s universally well-respected by all who know her.

But there’s one more thing.  During her nomination hearing, she was asked by Senator Grassley (R-IA) if it was appropriate for judges to actively seek to create favorable patent venues in their courts.  (1:06:58).  And her answer summarizes the ideal of a judge—judges should be “bound by the rule of law and just be focused on the facts of each case without really taking into consideration regarding what sorts of cases they might want to appear before them.”

It’s an answer in stark contrast to the practices of at least one other judge.

Joshua Landau

Joshua Landau is the Patent Counsel at the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA), where he represents and advises the association regarding patent issues.  Mr. Landau joined CCIA from WilmerHale in 2017, where he represented clients in patent litigation, counseling, and prosecution, including trials in both district courts and before the PTAB.

Prior to his time at WilmerHale, Mr. Landau was a Legal Fellow on Senator Al Franken’s Judiciary staff, focusing on privacy and technology issues.  Mr. Landau received his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and his B.S.E.E. from the University of Michigan.  Before law school, he spent several years as an automotive engineer, during which time he co-invented technology leading to U.S. Patent No. 6,934,140.

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