Judge Paul R. Michel

Title: Retired Judge
Company: U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
Location: Alexandria, Virginia, United States

Judge Paul R. Michel, Retired Judge at U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Lawyers for dedication, achievements, and leadership in judicial law.

Now retired from the federal judiciary, he pursued a continuous career in public law positions in all three Branches of government for more than forty-four years, including more than 22 years as an appellate judge. Appointed in 1988 by President Reagan to the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, he became its Chief Judge in 2004 and thereby a member of the twenty-six judge Judicial Conference of the United States, the governing body of the federal Judiciary.  The following year, he was appointed by the Chief Justice of the United States to the conference’s seven-judge executive committee, serving on both bodies until his retirement in 2010. Since then, he has continued to lend his expertise as a consultant, assisting lawyers in patent litigation in the Federal Circuit, the trial courts, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, and the International Trade Commission. He has also served as a mediator or arbitrator in scores of cases at the request of the parties.

Beginning his career in 1966 as a new assistant district attorney in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, Mr. Michel rose through the ranks, in 1972 being appointed deputy district attorney for investigations and directing a 19-month special grand jury investigation into allegations of corruption by public officials.  Based on this experience, he was appointed an assistant special Watergate prosecutor in 1974, investigating a slush fund maintained for President Nixon based on cash secretly provided by Howard Hughes and other multi-millionaires to Nixon’s friend, banker Charles ”Bebe” Rebozo, or his secretary, Rosemary Woods. In 1975, Mr. Michel was appointed an assistant counsel to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Activities, known as the Church Committee after its Chairman. The work of the committee led to many reforms to prevent misuse of the nation’s foreign intelligence agencies, law enforcement agencies like the FBI, and the IRS. In 1976, he was appointed deputy chief of the U. S. Justice Department’s new public integrity section, where he directed the “Koreagate” investigation into alleged payments to members of the Congress. Next, he served from 1978-80 as an associate deputy attorney general, helping with policy supervision of the FBI and other law enforcement agencies, coordinating responses to domestic terrorism acts and security for the 100,000 Cuban refugees arriving in the 1980 Mariel Boatlift.  In 1981, upon taking office, Senator Arlen Specter, Michel’s boss in Philadelphia, selected him to help organize the new staff; later, he served as counsel and chief of staff to Specter before being appointed to the court.

Outside the courthouse, Judge Michel taught appellate practice as adjunct faculty at George Washington University’s National Law Center and John Marshall Law School, until becoming chief judge. He also advised many law schools on their intellectual property programs, including the universities of California (Berkeley), Maryland, Washington, Houston and Akron. An active speaker at conferences, he also wrote many articles and co-authored a case book on patent litigation during his years on the court.

Since retiring, Mr. Michel has been even more active as a speaker and has authored dozens of articles, trying to help media, members of Congress and other policy makers to better understand Intellectual property law, especially patent law. His articles have been published in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, The Hill, Roll Call, Bloomberg Law, and the National Review, among other outlets. Since 2010, he has served as a director of the Intellectual Property Owners Education Foundation.  He has been called as an expert witness in court cases in Norway and England and in private international arbitrations. He has been honored to testify repeatedly before Congress on patent policy.

Mr. Michel earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Williams College in 1963, later receiving its Kellogg Award for Outstanding Leadership in Law and Public Service, and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia in 1966. During his first year in Philadelphia, he enlisted in the U. S. Army Reserve and later received a direct commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Civil Affairs Branch. He was admitted before the courts of Pennsylvania, the federal trial and appellate courts and the U. S. Supreme Court.

Throughout his public service career, Mr. Michel sought to promote the interests of all citizens, as opposed to individual private clients, and to improve the nation’s welfare.  In recognition of his efforts, Judge Michel was given Lifetime Achievement, Excellence, or Distinguished IP Professional awards by many national organizations, including the Sedona Conference, the ABA-IP Section, American Intellectual Property Law Association, and Intellectual Property Owners Association. Judge Michel received the Jefferson Medal, the Katz-Kiley Prize, and the Eli Whitney Award.  Honorary degrees were conferred on him by the John Marshall Law School and The Catholic University of America. He was named by Managing Intellectual Property magazine as One of the 50 Most Influential Leaders in Intellectual Property in the World.  He was also inducted in 2010 into Intellectual Asset Management Magazine’s international Hall of Fame.

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