by Dennis Crouch
Justice Stephen Breyer is retiring today from the Supreme Court after 28 years on the bench. Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson will be sworn-in as his replacement. Congratulations! Justice Breyer was an administrative law and copyright scholar at Harvard before moving into the judiciary in 1980 (1st Circuit). President Bill Clinton nominated Breyer to the Supreme Court in 1994 on the retirement of Harry Blackmun.
Justice Breyer wrote the opinion for a unanimous court in Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc., 566 U.S. 66 (2012). That decision established the two step eligibility test and broadly construed the concept of a ‘law of nature.’ In Dickinson v. Zurko, 527 U.S. 150 (1999), Justice Breyer wrote the majority opinion holding that the Administrative Procedure Act’s (APA) standards applied to appellate review of USPTO factual findings. The result is a high level of deference and thus a low chance of overturning a PTAB factual finding on appeal.
Judge Jackson was a D.C. district court judge and then later on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. on the the D.C. In those roles, she handled a number of administrative cases in the FDA/Patent space.