Xuan-Thao Nguyen, In the Name of Patent Stewardship: The Federal Circuit’s Overreach into Commercial Law

67 Fla. L. Rev. 127 (2015) |

While the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has admirably commandeered its stewardship of patent law—Congress bestowed the Federal Circuit with exclusive jurisdiction over patent appeals since 1982—the court has unabashedly extended its reach, unwelcomed, into commercial law. Camouflaged in the name of patent stewardship, the Federal Circuit’s foray into commercial law has yielded unexpected and unjustifiable results. This Article argues that, paradoxically, to maintain its stewardship of patent law, the Federal Circuit should not invoke patent law to rationalize its decisions concerning commercial law, which have dramatically altered established commercial law. This encroachment into commercial law, which is within the provenance of state law, destabilizes federalism causing uncertainty in state law. The Federal Circuit must refrain from encroaching into commercial law as it has no authority to inject itself into state law making.

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