Today the White House announced President Biden’s intent to nominate Leonard Stark, currently a District Judge for the District of Delaware, to serve as a Circuit Judge on the Federal Circuit. The announcement highlighted Judge Stark’s extensive experience serving as a judge in the District of Delaware, which handles a substantial share of the nation’s patent infringement cases at the trial level. This announcement follows news of Judge Kathleen O’Malley’s planned retirement, scheduled for March, 2022. Notably, this will be President Biden’s second nomination to the Federal Circuit, following the nomination of now-Judge Tiffany Cunningham. Here is the text of today’s announcement, followed by some additional information about Judge Stark.
The President is announcing ten judicial nominees, including nine new candidates for the federal bench. All of the nominees are extraordinarily qualified, experienced, and devoted to the rule of law and our Constitution.
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Judge Leonard Stark: Nominee for the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
Judge Leonard Stark has served as a United States District Court Judge for the District of Delaware since 2010. Judge Stark served as Chief Judge for the District of Delaware from July 2014 to June 2021. Previously, he served as a United States Magistrate Judge for the District of Delaware from 2007 to 2010. From 2002 to 2007, Judge Stark served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware, where he worked in both the criminal and civil divisions. From 1997 to 2001, Judge Stark was an associate in the Wilmington, Delaware office of the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. He served as a law clerk for Judge Walter Stapleton on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit from 1996 to 1997.
Judge Stark received his J.D. from Yale Law School in 1996., a D. Phil. from the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar in 1993, and a B.A., B.S., and M.A., summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Delaware in 1991.
Judge Stark has heard numerous patent cases since his appointment to the federal bench in 2010. Indeed, in 2014, shortly before Judge Stark was appointed Chief Judge of the District of Delaware, it was reported the District of Delaware had 1,478 total patent cases, representing 370 patent cases per judge. Notably, Judge Stark also participated as part of the District of Delaware’s Patent Study Group and issued revised patent procedures for his court in July 2014.
Following Judge O’Malley’s retirement, Judge Stark’s appointment would make him the only active judge on the Federal Circuit bench with prior experience as a trial judge.
We will follow and report on Judge Stark’s planned nomination to the Federal Circuit.