The U.S. Court’s website reveals that Federal Circuit Judge Kathleen O’Malley plans to retire from the bench on March 11, 2022. Judge O’Malley has served as a Federal Circuit judge for over ten years and, given her past experience as a federal district judge, as a federal judge for over twenty-six years. Notably, when paired with Judge Wallach’s taking senior status this past May, Judge O’Malley’s retirement may mean that the Federal Circuit will not have any active judge with prior experience as a trial judge. That said, coming on the heels of Tiffany Cunningham’s confirmation vote last week, Judge O’Malley’s retirement will provide President Biden with his second opportunity to appoint a judge to the Federal Circuit, and perhaps President Biden will seek an experienced district judge to fill Judge O’Malley’s position.
Judge O’Malley was appointed to the Federal Circuit by President Obama in 2010. She previously served as a federal district judge on the U. S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, having been appointed to the bench by President Clinton in 1994. She has received numerous awards recognizing her work in the intellectual property field in particular, including the Sedona Conference Lifetime Achievement Award, the New Jersey Intellectual Property Law Association Jefferson Medal, the New York Intellectual Property Law Association Outstanding Public Service Award, and Globe Business Media Group’s IP Hall of Fame.
With Judge Wallach taking senior status and Judge O’Malley’s announced retirement, the Federal Circuit will be down to four active judges eligible to take senior status or retire–Judges Newman, Lourie, Dyk, and Prost–with Judge Reyna soon becoming eligible.