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Volume 3 of the Federal Circuit
Historical Society Journal.

Volume 3, 2009

In this third issue of the Journal, the Society celebrates the life and contributions of Judge Giles S. Rich on the tenth anniversary of his passing.  One of the nation's most enduring and accomplished jurist, Judge Rich rendered unparalleled service to the development of the U.S. patent law both during his private practice career and in his work on the U.S. Court of Customs and Patent Appeals ("CCPA") and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.  He was one of the Judiciary's leading intellectual lights, and we remember him with respect, admiration and fondness in this Journal issue.

Phil Swain, former law clerk to Judge Rich, and the Society's immediate past-President, undertook the editing role for this issue of the Journal, managing the collection of original papers and reprinted articles, speeches, and tributes, and providing a biography.  Through this biography, we learn about the person, Giles Sutherland Rich, and begin to get an understanding of the stellar lawyer and judge he became.  Rounding out this look into the personal side, Judge Rich's daughter, Verity Rich Hallinan, and niece, Eleanor Van Staagen Mitchell, have provided their reflections on this beloved family man.

Judge Rich famously played a major role in the enactment of the 1952 codification of the patent law.  The 1952 Act is the statutory foundation for the jurisprudence in that field through the last half of the twentieth century and still today.  He was trained in the patent law and practiced in the field before his appointment to the CCPA in 1956.  He was the first patent lawyer to serve as a judge on that court.  Three years later, a second patent lawyer, Arther M. Smith, was added to the CCPA.  Lynn Eccleston and Hal Wegner present a study of the impact on the patent law development under the 1952 Act during the "Rich-Smith Years of the CCPA," the period from 1959, when Judge Smith joined the court, until his death in 1968.

The writings of Judge Rich that Phil Swain selected for this issue begin with the rare publication of a 1929 primer he wrote on “Patent Law and Procedure.” We are honored to have an introduction to this document by Federal Circuit Judge Alan D. Lourie, and it is a fitting lead-in to the collection presented here, which additionally includes commentaries on the patent law written by Judge Rich in 1936, 1970, and as late as 1998.

As a preface to the selection of speeches, Dale L. Carlson, Historian and President-Elect of the New York Intellectual Patent Law Association, notes Judge Rich’s long association with the New York patent bar. Representative speeches included here span a long period of time, starting in 1952, when Judge Rich addressed the New York Patent Law Association on the Patent Act passed that year.

Many people have paid tribute to Judge Rich. We have included a transcript of the Special Session of the Federal Circuit held in 1999, which highlights the high regard and affection in which he was held, as well as the personal remarks of Senator Orrin Hatch and Federal Circuit Judge Pauline Newman. In “Turing the Corner,” “Remembrances and Memorial,” and “A Rich Legacy,” former law clerks John Witherspoon, Neil Smith and Janice Mueller, respectively, all of whom went on to have prestigious careers in their own rights, recall their personal experiences, impressions and lessons learned as a result of having Judge Rich as their mentor. Through all these tributes and remembrances, we come to better appreciate the force of the figure celebrated in these pages.

For additional information, please contact Maria Mirra at maria.mirra@finnegan.com.

Current members of the Federal Circuit Historical Society will receive a free copy of the Journal and additional copies may be obtained for $25.00 at:

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The Federal Circuit Historical Society
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The Journal of the Federal Circuit Historical Society

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