Federal Circuit Appeals

Appeals historically occur in about ½ of 1% of all patent cases. Experience has revealed that the case that is prepared for trial and appeal usually settles, but the case that is prepared half-heartedly for settlement often must be tried and appealed. In the twists and turns of a patent case, it is useful to keep the goal in mind.

Each client’s patent issues are unique, but in each case we bring to bear our successful experience in numerous appeals in the Federal Circuit, Seventh Circuit, D.C. Circuit and U.S. Supreme Court. For practical purposes, the Federal Circuit is the “Supreme Court” in patent cases, because each year hundreds of appeals from patent decisions of the Patent Office and federal district courts nationwide are taken to the Federal Circuit, while only one or two of those patent appeals are accepted for review by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Mr. Beem was a member of the winning appellate team in Phillips Petroleum v. U.S. Steel and Shell Oil, the culmination of a record-setting 30 years of patent interferences and litigation over the Nobel-prize winning invention of crystalline polypropylene. The Phillips Petroleum appeal established the validity, enforceability and infringement of the Phillips patent, thereby affirming the right to collect millions of dollars in royalties from the entire plastics industry.

Critical for success on appeal was the need to tell the story of the invention of polypropylene and the ensuing years of litigation, requiring explanation of both technical and legal issues. Richard Beem was also a principal author in a Federal Circuit brief, Knorr-Bremse v. Dana, 383 F.3d 1337 (Fed. Cir. 2004) (en banc).

Rich Beem’s experience with the Federal Circuit and the appellate process, began with two years of services as Law Clerk to the Honorable Edward S. Smith of the Federal Circuit, where Beem assisted in the review and disposition of numerous patent appeals.

Also, he has served as co-chair of the ABA/IPL Committee on Amicus Curiae Briefs, in which capacity he received, analyzed and acted on requests for the ABA to appear as a friend of the court in Federal Circuit and Supreme Court appeals. Currently, Attorney Beem is preparing for oral argument in a patent case before the Federal Circuit in June 2008.