An interesting story came across my email recently, and I wanted to share it with our readers, especially the attorneys who follow our blog. For those who don’t know, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals hears all appellate patent cases. The Federal Circuit was formed Friday, October 1, 1982. Before that all patent cases were heard by the Court of Customs and Patent Appeals (CCPA). Many people don’t realize this, but the very first appeal ever filed in the newly formed Federal Circuit was a VIDEO GAME case! Yes, it was appeal no. 83-500, The Magnavox Co. v. Mattel, Inc. Some of the attorneys for the appellants include Dennis Allegretti and Mark T. Banner, both of our firm. The article I read is more of a historical account as opposed to a legal analysis, but an interesting read nonetheless. Here is the first two paragraphs to whet your appetite:
For many years, George E. Hutchinson, the first clerk of the Federal Circuit, told the story that on the first day of the court’s existence, Friday, October 1, 1982, a young lawyer from Chicago showed up bright and early at his office and filed an emergency motion for a stay pending appeal—even before the judges of the court had been sworn in.
Just over thirty-two years after the oral argument in that first appeal, I became the last counsel of record who can give a first-person account of the oral argument and the case, and therefore I take this opportunity to tell the story. This was appeal no. 83-500, The Magnavox Co. v. Mattel, Inc., the first appeal from the district court filed in the Federal Circuit. The public knows nothing about it because no opinion was released—the parties reached a settlement literally on the eve of an opinion being published.
The article is by Edward D. Manzo, and you can look it up in The Federal Circuit Bar Journal, Vol. 25, No. 1.