US board of appeals and interferences

United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is a United States court of appeals and was created by Congress with passage of the Federal Courts Improvement Act of 1982. The law merged the United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals and the appellate division of the United States Court of Claims, making the judges of the former courts into circuit judges.

The court is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and occupies the Howard T. Markey National Courts Building, the Tayloe House, the former Cosmos Club, and the Dolley Madison House.


Pursuant to , the Federal Circuit is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction over:

The Federal Circuit is the only judicial circuit that has its jurisdiction based wholly on subject matter rather than geographical location. It hears all appeals from United States district courts arising from non-tort monetary complaints against the federal government under $10,000 (the "Little Tucker Act"). It also hears all appeals from any of the United States district courts where the original action included a complaint arising under the patent laws, but, as the Supreme Court has decided, not if the patent claims arose solely as counter-claims by the defendant. Though other appellate courts can now hear patent counter-claims in theory, this has not happened often.

The court sits from time-to-time in locations other than Washington, and its judges can and do sit by designation on other courts of appeals and on district courts.

Pursuant to , all active judges of the Federal Circuit are required to reside within 50 miles (80 km) of the District of Columbia while on active status. Judges on senior status are not subject to this restriction.

Current composition of the court

As of Kimberly Ann Moore's inauguration on September 8, 2006, the judges on the court are:

Pending nominations

  • There are no vacancies pending.

List of former judges

Chief judges

Notwithstanding the foregoing, when the court was initially created, Congress had to resolve which chief judge of the predecessor courts would become the first chief judge. It was decided that the chief judge of the predecessor court who had the most seniority, as chief judge, would be the new chief judge. This made Howard T. Markey, former chief judge of the Court of Customs and Patent Appeals, the first chief judge.

Succession of seats

The court has twelve seats for active judges, numbered in alphabetical order by their occupant at the time the court was formed, with the sole vacant seat being numbered last. Judges who retire into senior status remain on the bench but leave their seat vacant. That seat is filled by the next circuit judge appointed by the President.

See also



  • .
    • source for the duty stations for senior judges
  • .
    • source for the state, lifetime, term of active judgeship, term of chief judgeship, term of senior judgeship, appointer, termination reason, and seat information

Further reading

  • Bennett, Marion T. (1991). The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit: A History, 1982–1990. Washington, D.C.: United States Judicial Conference Committee on the Bicentennial of the Constitution of the United States.
  • (2004). United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit: A History: 1990–2002 / compiled by members of the Advisory Council to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in celebration of the court's twentieth anniversary.. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

External links


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