James Brookshire of the Federal Circuit Bar Association (FCBA) sent me a note today that Judge Glenn Archer has died. Judge Archer first joined the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in 1985 after a career as a JAG lawyer, a private practitioner, and an Assistant Attorney General of the Department of Justice Tax Division. Judge Archer was born in my home state of Kansas and left to attend Yale in the late 1940's. After Yale, he attended law school at George Washington in DC.
Judge Archer was Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit from 1994-1997 when he took senior status at the age of 68. His line on the court was not filled until 2000 when Judge Dyk was confirmed by the Senate. Judge Archer's last opinion for the court was in January 2011 in a case captioned Wiley v. Merit Systems Protection Bd. Chief Judge Rader and Judge Gajarsa joined Judge Archer's opinion holding that the MSPB had failed to properly follow the procedural requirements concerning a retired federal employee's survivor annuity. As a senior judge in 1998, Judge Archer was tasked with drafting the majority opinion in the en banc case of Cybor Corp. v. FAS Technologies, Inc., 138 F.3d 1448 (Fed. Cir. 1998). His opinion, written in the wake of the Supreme Court's Markman decision, held that claim construction was a "purely legal issue" subject to "de novo review on appeal." That still-controversial decision has now been cited more than 8,000 times.
A 2008 IP Law & Business article discussed the close connection between Judge Archer's former clerks. These clerks include Judge Kimberly Moore, Professor Tim Holbrook, Frank Angileri, and Teresa Lavenue.