Research Handbook on the Economics of Intellectual Property Law
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Research Handbook on the Economics of Intellectual Property Law

Vol 1: Theory Vol 2: Analytical Methods

Edited by Ben Depoorter, Peter Menell and David Schwartz

Both law and economics and intellectual property law have expanded dramatically in tandem over recent decades. This field-defining two-volume Handbook, featuring the leading legal, empirical, and law and economics scholars studying intellectual property rights, provides wide-ranging and in-depth analysis both of the economic theory underpinning intellectual property law, and the use of analytical methods to study it.
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Chapter 6: The Federal Circuit as an institution

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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