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Ryan Vacca

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is a unique institution. Unlike other circuit courts, the Federal Circuit’s jurisdiction is bound by subject area rather than geography, and it was created to address a unique set of problems specific to patent law. These characteristics have affected its institutional development and made the court one of the most frequently studied appellate courts. This chapter examines, through the use of empirical studies, the court’s development and describes the evolving qualities that have helped the Federal Circuit distinguish itself, for better or worse, as an institution. In particular, this chapter synthesizes the empirical literature involving uniformity, forum shopping, diversity and percolation, certainty and predictability, quality and formalism, court structure, characteristics and background of individual judges, internal dynamics, the use of en banc review, and the court’s interactions with other institutions.

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Peter S. Menell and Ryan Vacca

This chapter explores how 3D printing fits within US copyright law. US copyright law provides a well-developed framework for protecting creative designs, whether fixed in CAD files or 3D objects. Although 3D printing poses similar challenges encountered by content industries whose works were disrupted by the digital revolution, 3D printing brings distinctive issues. Although grounded in statute, US copyright law has a rich common law tradition affording courts significant leeway in adapting doctrines to new and unforeseen technological developments. This capacity is reinforced by the range of business strategies available for confronting appropriability challenges. This chapter surveys the 3D printing terrain on three levels: copyrightability of CAD files and 3D objects; enforcement challenges; and business strategies. The ultimate governance regime will depend upon business strategies that copyright owners and disruptive businesses pursue, the extent to which courts adapt doctrines to new and unforeseen challenges, and the Copyright Office’s DMCA exemptions.