United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals

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The United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals (CCPA) was a United States federal court which existed from 1909 to 1982 and had jurisdiction over certain types of civil disputes.


The CCPA began as the United States Court of Customs Appeals, created by the Payne–Aldrich Tariff Act of August 5, 1909, and it started its work the following year, on April 22, 1910. Five judges for the new court were appointed by President Taft: Robert Morris Montgomery, William H. Hunt, James Francis Smith, Orion M. Barber and Marion De Vries. The jurisdiction was originally appeals from decisions of the Board of General Appraisers, and no further appellate review was permitted. This changed in 1914, when writ of certiorari by the United States Supreme Court was allowed. The Patent Act of 1922 enlarged the jurisdiction of the court to include appeals on questions of law from Tariff Commission findings in proceedings relating to unfair practices in the import trade.

In 1929 the court's name was changed to the United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals by an enactment that conferred upon it appeals from the United States Patent Office. These appeals included ex parte patent cases, appeals from interference proceedings, and trademark cases, appeals which theretofore had been heard in United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. In the 1929 case Ex Parte Bakelite Corporation,[1] the Supreme Court held that the CCPA was a court formed under Article I of the Constitution. This left the judges unable to sit by designation on regular federal courts, and in an ambiguous situation regarding judicial retirement. This situation was not addressed by Congress until August 25, 1958, when a law was passed deeming the CCPA an Article III court.[2] This law was subsequently upheld by the Supreme Court, which overruled the Bakelite case.

In 1930 the CCPA moved into the Internal Revenue Service Building and remained there until 1967. The CCPA moved into the National Courts Building (now the Howard T. Markey National Courts Building), which it shared with the United States Court of Claims.

In 1982 the CCPA was abolished by the Federal Courts Improvement Act, and its jurisdiction, docket, and judges were transferred to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.


A total of 25 judges were appointed to the CCPA over the life of the court:

# Judge State Born–died Active service Chief Judge Senior status Appointed by Reason for
1 Robert Morris Montgomery MI 1849–1910 1910–1920 1910–1920 Taft death
2 Marion De Vries CA 1865–1939 1910–1922 1921–1922 Taft resignation
3 Orion M. Barber VT 1857–1930 1910–1928 1928–1930 Taft death
4 James Francis Smith CA 1859–1928 1910–1928 Taft death
5 William Henry Hunt MT 1857–1949 1910–1911 Taft retirement
6 George Ewing Martin OH 1857–1948 1911–1924 1923–1924 Taft elevation to D.C. Cir.
7 Oscar E. Bland IN 1877–1951 1923–1947 Harding retirement
8 Charles Sherrod Hatfield OH 1882–1950 1923–1950 Harding death
9 William J. Graham IL 1872–1937 1924–1937 1924–1937 Coolidge death
10 Finis J. Garrett TN 1875–1956 1929–1955 1937–1955 Coolidge retirement
11 Irvine Lenroot WI 1869–1949 1929–1944 Hoover retirement
12 Joseph Raymond Jackson NY 1880–1969 1937–1952 1952–1969 F. Roosevelt death
13 Ambrose O'Connell NY 1881–1962 1944–1962 1962 F. Roosevelt death
14 Noble J. Johnson IN 1887–1968 1948–1958 1956–1958 1958–1968 Truman death
15 Eugene Worley TX 1908–1974 1950–1972 1959–1972 1972–1974 Truman death
16 William Purington Cole Jr. MD 1889–1957 1952–1957 Truman death
17 Giles Rich NY 1904–1999 1956–1982 Eisenhower reassignment to Fed. Cir.
18 Isaac Jack Martin MD 1908–1966 1958–1966 Eisenhower death
19 Arthur Mumford Smith MI 1903–1968 1959–1968 Eisenhower death
20 J. Lindsay Almond VA 1898–1986 1963–1973 1973–1982 Kennedy reassignment to Fed. Cir.
21 Phillip Baldwin TX 1924–2002 1968–1982 L. Johnson reassignment to Fed. Cir.
22 Donald Edward Lane DC 1909–1979 1969–1979 Nixon death
23 Howard Thomas Markey IL 1920–2006 1972–1982 1972–1982 Nixon reassignment to Fed. Cir.
24 Jack Miller IA 1916–1994 1973–1982 Nixon reassignment to Fed. Cir.
25 Helen W. Nies MD 1925–1996 1980–1982 Carter reassignment to Fed. Cir.

Succession of seats[edit]

See also[edit]


A brief history of the United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals / by Giles S. Rich. Washington, D.C. : Published by authorization of Committee on the Bicentennial of Independence and the Constitution of the Judicial Conference of the United States : U.S. G.P.O., 1980.


  1. ^ Ex Parte Bakelite Corporation, 279 U.S. 438 (1929).
  2. ^ "Public Law 85-755 85th Congress, H. R. 7866, 72 Stat. 848" (PDF).

External links[edit]