Judge Linn is The New York Intellectual Property Law Association Outstanding Public Service Award Recipient for 2010
Circuit Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit; nominated by President Clinton on September 28, 1999; confirmed by the Senate on November 19, 1999; assumed duties of the office on January 1, 2000; born, Brooklyn, New York, April 13, 1944; B.E.E., Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1965; J.D., Georgetown University Law Center, 1969; patent examiner, U.S. Patent Office, 1965-68; patent agent, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, 1968-69; private practice, specializing in intellectual property litigation, 1970-99; admitted to the Virginia Bar in 1969, the District of Columbia Bar in 1970, and the New York Bar in 1994; member, founding Board of Governors, Virginia State Bar Section on Patent, Trademark and Copyright Law, Chairman, 1975; recipient, Rensselaer Alumni Association Fellows Award for 2000; honored for dedication, service, and devotion to justice in 2006 by the Austin Intellectual Property Law Association; Adjunct Professor and Professorial Lecturer, George Washington University Law School, 2001-03; member, Intellectual Property Advisory Board, George Washington University Law School; past president, Giles Sutherland Rich American Inn of Court 2004-05; member, Richard Linn American Inn of Court.
Judge Linn began his career in intellectual property law in 1965 as an examiner at the U.S. Patent Office while attending evening classes at Georgetown. He worked as an examiner for three years. He then moved to the Office of Naval Research where he wrote and prosecuted patent applications while completing his last year in law school. After receiving his law degree, he continued to prepare and prosecute patent and trademark applications in private practice for about eight years. In 1977, Judge Linn was invited to join the Washington office of Wender, Murase & White as a partner to establish an intellectual property capability in what was essentially a corporate and general business practice firm based in New York City.
At Wender, Murase & White (which later became Marks, Murase & White and then Marks & Murase, L.L.P.), Judge Linn’s practice expanded beyond the Patent and Trademark Office to the courts, and he became more involved in the enforcement of intellectual property rights, in the counseling of clients in intellectual property matters, and in the defense of clients charged with violating the intellectual property rights of others. Initially, he counseled the firm’s Japanese and European clients on U.S. patent and trademark law and handled a number of trademark matters before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board and various U.S. District Courts. He then continued to handle litigation matters, concentrating on patent infringement suits, counterfeit actions and trade secret misappropriation cases. He also represented musical groups and songwriters in royalty dispute and copyright cases. Judge Linn was the head of the intellectual property department for the entire 20 years he was a partner of the Marks & Murase firm. During that time, he acted as lead or senior counsel in over 30 litigations in the United States.
In 1997, he joined Foley & Lardner to manage and direct the Electronics Practice Group of the firm’s Intellectual Property Department. At Foley, he continued to concentrate his practice in counseling clients in patent, trademark, and trade secret law. Judge Linn developed a number of programs to assist major corporate clients in complying with intellectual property laws and in managing intellectual property assets. He also rendered opinions in patent and trademark matters and provided strategic guidance to clients in multinational intellectual property disputes. He resigned from the practice of law at the end of 1999.
Prior to taking the oath of office at the stroke of midnight, January 1, 2000, to become the first federal judge of the 21st century, Judge Linn participated in local and national bar association activities and worked as a volunteer for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, serving as a member of the Board in 1994-96, as vice-president for government relations in 1996-98, as president of the Board in 1998-99, and as president-emeritus in 1999.
Reflections on Judge Linn
As its President, Circuit Judge Richard Linn led the Washington, D.C. Intellectual Property Inn of Court named in honor of our late colleague, Giles Sutherland Rich, to the 2005 Model of Excellence award as the best Inn in America. He strongly supports the American Inns of Court in its mission to promote civility, professionalism, and excellence in the practice of law, and regularly participates in meetings of the Giles Rich Inn, the IP based Ben Franklin Inn in Philadelphia, and the appellate practice Edward Coke Inn, which meets at the Federal Circuit. A life-long patent lawyer, a patent examiner, a private practitioner and an electrical engineer, he also served as leader of the electronics practice group of Foley and Lardner’s intellectual property department, and prior to that, the leader of the intellectual property practice of Marks & Murase, now part of Bingham McCutchen LLP. He is, in short, a very well-rounded lawyer and judge. The author of major patent decisions, he is well respected by all his colleagues on the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which he joined in the first minute of the new millennium, January 1, 2000. In addition to his contributions to the development of the patent law, Judge Linn has contributed to putting the Federal Circuit at the vanguard of automation. For the last two years, he has led the court’s Task Force on Information Technology, designing new systems for electronic circulation, commenting and voting on proposed opinions and for electronic filing of briefs by counsel. Both initiatives will be put into operation in 2007. A leader in the larger intellectual property community and on the court, he is widely-recognized as a down-to-earth man who is good, generous, and great company. I think it is entirely fitting that Judge Linn, who succeeded Judge Giles Rich on the court and who has played and continues to play an active role in the Inn named after Judge Rich, now is honored to have an Inn in his own name. I am confident that it will be a resounding success.
Paul R. Michel
Written for the Inaugural Meeting of The Richard Linn American Inn of Court and Presentation of Charter in January 2007