President Obama has nominated Raymond Chen and Todd Hughes to fill Federal Circuit seats vacated by Judges Linn and Bryson when they took senior status.
Since 2008, Raymond T. Chen has served as the Deputy General Counsel for Intellectual Property Law and Solicitor for the USPTO. He began his career as an intellectual property litigator with Knobbe Martens in California. From 1996-98, he served as a Technical Assistant at the Federal Circuit where he acted as a staff attorney. In 1998, he joined the PTO as Associate Solicitor before rising to his current position in 1998.
Chen has extensive experience before the Federal Circuit while working in the Solicitor’s Office. He has argued over 20 cases, including Bilski, Nuijten, and Comiskey, and advises the PTO’s examining corps on developing legal issues.
Since 2007, Hughes has served as Deputy Director of the Commercial Litigation Branch of the Civil Division at the United States Department of Justice. He has worked in the Justice Department since 1994 in the Commercial Litigation Branch. He has extensive experience before the Court of Federal Claims, as well as the Federal Circuit and Court of International Trade.
If confirmed, Hughes would be the first openly gay Federal appeals court judge. Obama previously nominated openly gay attorney Edward DuMont to the court, but he withdrew his nomination which was stalled before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The Federal Circuit is statutorily entitled to 12 judges, but is currently operating with only 9. Richard Taranto was nominated in November 2011 and approved by the Judiciary Committee last March. Yet, his nomination has failed to reach the floor of the Senate.
Both nominees seem to be highly qualified for positions on the court. Raymond Chen is especially well known in the IP community and at the Federal Circuit. Given the Senate’s inability to confirm judicial nominees, even those that shouldn’t be contentious, it is unclear when any of these nominees may join the court.