Download AFJ Background Report

President Obama nominated Kara Farnandez Stoll to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on November 12, 2014. If confirmed, Stoll will fill the seat vacated by Judge Randall R. Rader, who assumed senior status on December 17, 2014. Stoll is currently a visiting professor at George Mason Law School and a partner at the intellectual property firm of Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett and Dunner, LLP. Upon her nomination, President Obama remarked that Stoll has “displayed exceptional dedication to the legal profession through [her] work,” and “[she] will be [a] diligent, judicious and esteemed addition[]” to the Federal Circuit.[1]

Biography

Stoll was born in Wilmington, Delaware in 1968. She received her B.S. in electrical engineering from Michigan State University in 1991, and her J.D. from Georgetown University Law School in 1997. During law school, Stoll worked as a Patent Examiner for the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Georgetown awarded Stoll the Leon Robin Patent Award for best work in courses in the field of patent law.

After law school, Stoll served as a law clerk for Federal Circuit Judge Alvin A. Schall. In 1998, she joined Finnegan, one of the world’s largest intellectual property law firms, where she served as an associate until making partner in 2006. At Finnegan, Stoll primarily practices patent law, and represents both plaintiffs and defendants in federal district courts, in appeals before the Federal Circuit, and in arbitration proceedings. Stoll was a visiting professor at the Howard University School of Law from 2004 to 2008, and has served as a visiting professor at George Mason University Law School since 2008.

Legal Experience and Expertise

Stoll is a renowned appellate litigator who has represented clients in more than 35 appeals, presented argument in nine cases before the Federal Circuit, and filed briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court to both support and oppose grants of certiorari. Stoll’s litigation practice has focused on patents related to electrical engineering, and her work has covered all facets of patent law, including claim construction, patent validity, patent infringement, and damages.

In Powell v. The Home Depot U.S.A., Inc., Stoll successfully represented Mr. Powell, a 20-year independent contractor for The Home Depot, who developed a “Safe Hands” device to protect Home Depot employees who used in-store saws.[2] The Home Depot asked another supplier to make copies of the device, and then installed it in more than 2,000 Home Depot locations nationwide. Mr. Powell sued for patent infringement and won a $15 million jury verdict—an award the trial court enhanced by $3 million based on The Home Depot’s willful infringement.[3] Powell retained Stoll when The Home Depot appealed, and Stoll successfully defended the judgment in the Federal Circuit.[4]

In i4i Ltd. Partnership v. Microsoft Corp., Stoll represented patent-holder i4i in the Federal Circuit, where she secured a ruling that upheld the largest ($290 million) patent verdict ever sustained on appeal.[5] The Federal Circuit’s decision was later affirmed by the Supreme Court.[6]

Stoll also has worked on numerous proceedings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). She was lead counsel for Boston Scientific Corporation (BSC) in Saffran v. Boston Scientific Corp., where the PTAB found that BSC’s patent was not invalid and the Federal Circuit affirmed.[7]

Finally, Stoll has been involved in public service throughout her career. She has represented pro bono clients in criminal cases and in veterans’ appeals before the Federal Circuit. She also sharpens the appellate arguments of other attorneys by actively participating in moot courts held in preparation for pro bono veterans’ appeals before the Federal Circuit.

Professional and Community Activities

Stoll is a member of the Federal Circuit Bar Association, where she sat as Vice-Chair of the Rules Committee from 2012 to 2013, and was awarded the Committee Individual Leadership Award in 2012. Stoll rejoined the Rules Committee as Vice-Chair in 2014. She also has participated as a moot court judge for the American Intellectual Property Law Association.

As a law professor, Stoll has taught a Patent Law and Public Policy seminar, and a course on Federal Circuit Practice and Procedure.

 


[1] White House Press Release, President Obama Nominates Two to Serve on the United States Courts of Appeal (November 12, 2014), available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/11/12/president-obama-nominates-two-serve-united-states-courts-appeals.

[2] 663 F.3d 1221 (Fed. Cir. 2011).

[3] Id.

[4] Id.

[5] 598 F.3d 831 (Fed. Cir. 2010).

[6] Microsoft Corp. v. i4i Ltd. P’ship, 131 S. Ct. 2238, 2240 (2011).

[7] Case No. 09-256 (E.D. Tex. 2011), appeal dismissed, 331 F. Appx. 728 (Fed.Cir. 2009); Saffran v. Abbott Labs., No. 2:09-cv-256-TJW (E.D. Tex. 2011).