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Abstract

A Pilot Program to “encourage enhancement of expertise” in patent cases among district judges recently got underway in the federal courts. The program is designed to funnel patent cases to judges who volunteer to become “pilot judges.” The idea is that as these judges hear more patent cases and become more familiar with patent law, they will be able to craft claim constructions and opinions that are increasingly likely to survive the scrutiny of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Unfortunately, the Federal Circuit’s jurisprudence may itself encumber these efforts because of a split among the Federal Circuit judges concerning the correct approach to interpreting patent claims. This Article explores that split and its potential to undermine the pilot judges’ efforts to make the program a success.

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