The CAFC has announced that next Tuesday the Court will hold a discussion regarding "Briefing and Oral Argument in Cases Involving the Government."
The discussion will be held in Courtroom 201 at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, April 10 at the Howard T. Markey National Courts Building. After presentations by one or more judges, there will be an opportunity for those attending to ask questions. The session is expected to last no more than 90 minutes. No advanced registration is required and of course no cost is involved.
While a significant number of patent cases involve the government as a party, I expect that the focus of the briefing will involve cases rising from the US Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), Court of Federal Claims (CFC), Board of Contract Appeals (BCA), and the Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA). These cases are occasionally worth a substantial amount of money (especially CFC & BCA cases). However, the majority are small-potatoes as compared to most patent appeals. Consequently, attorneys involved prepare less. I suspect that the Court will primarily focus on that issue.
A couple of side-notes: one involving pro-bono and another involving the national stature of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
Pro Bono: Some of these low-dollar cases create a perfect opportunity for a patent attorney interested in pro-bono activities. In handling a Veteran's appeal, you will likely provide a valuable service and, at the same time, build your experience at the CAFC.
A National Court: Unlike the regional circuit courts of appeal, the CAFC is a national court that handles cases from all-around the country. To the extent possible, meetings such as this should provide an opportunity for all interested attorneys to participate or at-least access the information provided by the Court. A simple suggestion would be to provide telephonic access or an MP3 recording of the event. Of course, this is a minor suggestion -- in fact, it is wonderful that the Court is interested in prompting a dialogue with the Bar.