Earlier today, at precisely 12:27pm ET, by a vote of 97 – 0, the United States Senate confirmed Raymond T. Chen to be a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Chen was nominated by President Barack Obama on February 7, 2013.
Prior to becoming the newest member of the Federal Circuit, Chen was the Deputy General Counsel for Intellectual Property Law and Solicitor at the United States Patent and Trademark Office. In this role, he defended the Under Secretary of Commerce and Director of the USPTO and the agency in court. By all accounts he was also a trusted senior member of the USPTO senior management team.
Prior to becoming Solicitor and Deputy General Counsel at the USPTO, Chen was an Associate Solicitor for 10 years. In this capacity he represented the USPTO’s decisions in federal court, briefing and arguing numerous cases before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
efore joining the USPTO, Chen served for two years as a Technical Assistant at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Prior to that, he was an associate at Knobbe, Martens, Olson & Bear in Newport Beach, California, where his practice focused on patent prosecution and litigation. Before entering law school, Mr. Chen was a scientist for Hecker & Harriman in Los Angeles, California, specializing in patent prosecution for electronics and computer-related technologies. He received his J.D. from the New York University School of Law and his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of California at Los Angeles.
Over the past several years I have gotten to know Chen, seeing him at the various industry functions ranging from conferences, to the AIPLA annual meeting, to holiday parties and as I am in and out of the USPTO for one reason or another. I had the opportunity to interview Chen in August 2012. I have always found him to be extremely knowledgeable about all things patent. He is thoughtful and articulate, and the briefs he authors are well written and to the point. Ray is also relatively young — in his mid-forties — which means he could spend over a generation on the Federal Circuit working to shape U.S. patent laws.
While in the Solicitor’s Office at the USPTO Chen’s notable Federal Circuit arguments included In re Bilski, In re Nuijten, and In re Comiskey. While I disagreed with the Federal Circuit decision in each of those cases I still believe Chen to be an excellent choice for the Federal Circuit. While some may look at the cases where Chen defended the Board, that was his job and I would caution reading to much into the briefs filed looking for a window into the judicial philosophy of Chen. Indeed, I have every reason to expect that he will align himself with the pro-patent wing of the Court.
Congratulations to Judge Raymond T. Chen of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit!