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United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FEDERAL CIRCUIT

This court was created by the federal courts improvement act (1982), to take over the jurisdiction of the court of customs and patent appeals and the court of claims. Its first judges were the judges of the superseded courts. It is a constitutional court, whose twelve judges serve for life during good behavior.

The Federal Circuit, like the other united states courts of appeals, is an intermediate appellate court; its jurisdiction, however, is defined not by region but by subject matter. It has nationwide jurisdiction to hear appeals in cases chiefly of the types previously heard by the superseded courts: customs and patent matters, and claims against the United States. In the future, however, other types of cases may be added to the Federal Circuit's jurisdiction—tax appeals, for example. Such developments might relieve some of the pressure on the Supreme Court's docket, effectively removing certain technical and specialized areas from the Court's workload. Many proponents of the 1982 act regard the creation of this opportunity as the act's most important achievement.

Kenneth L. Karst
(1986)

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