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Federal Circuit Pick Is Approved by Senate Judiciary Committee (1)

Jan. 13, 2022, 2:55 PMUpdated: Jan. 13, 2022, 3:16 PM

The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced Judge Leonard Stark’s nomination to the Federal Circuit, bringing him one step closer to a seat on the top U.S. patent court.

Stark, a judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, was approved on a bipartisan 16-6 vote. It’s unclear when the full Senate will vote on the nomination.

If confirmed, Stark would replace Judge Kathleen M. O’Malley who plans to retire in March. O’Malley is the only current member of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit with experience as a trial judge.

Stark has handled 2,400 patent cases—63 of which have gone to trial—in his decade on the bench. His experience prepares him to hit the ground running at the Federal Circuit, Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), a member of the panel’s IP subcommittee, said at Stark’s confirmation hearing Dec. 1.

The committee voted 16-6 to advance the nomination of Jacqueline Corley, a magistrate judge in the Northern District of California, for a district judge seat on the court, among the busiest U.S. patent venues.

The committee also advanced the nominations of three other federal trial court judges: Bridget Meehan Brennan, Charles Esque Fleming, and David Augustin Ruiz to the Northern District of Ohio.

The panel approved four U.S. attorney nominees: Ryan Buchanan for the Northern District of Georgia, Jason Frierson to the District of Nevada, Andrew Luger to the District of Minnesota, and Mark Totten to the Western District of Michigan.

(Updated with additional reporting)

To contact the reporter on this story: Perry Cooper in Washington at pcooper@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Renee Schoof at rschoof@bloombergindustry.com