United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals

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The United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals (CCPA) is a former 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 1958 when a law was passed deeming the CCPA an Article III court. 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 24 judges were appointed to the CCPA over the life of the court:

Judge Began active
Ended active
Appointed by
Nies, Helen WilsonHelen Wilson Nies 1980 1982[2] Carter
Miller, Jack RichardJack Richard Miller 1973 1982[2] Nixon
Markey, Howard ThomasHoward Thomas Markey 1972 1982[2] Nixon
Lane, Donald EdwardDonald Edward Lane 1969 1979 Nixon
Baldwin, Phillip BenjaminPhillip Benjamin Baldwin 1968 1982[2] Johnson
Almond, Jr., James LindsayJames Lindsay Almond, Jr. 1963 1982[2] Kennedy
Smith, Arthur MumfordArthur Mumford Smith 1959 1968 Eisenhower
Martin, Isaac JackIsaac Jack Martin 1958 1966 Eisenhower
Rich, Giles SutherlandGiles Sutherland Rich 1956 1982[2] Eisenhower
Cole, William PuringtonWilliam Purington Cole 1952 1957 Truman
Worley, EugeneEugene Worley 1950 1974 Truman
Johnson, Noble JacobNoble Jacob Johnson 1948 1968 Truman
O'Connell, AmbroseAmbrose O'Connell 1944 1962 Roosevelt
Jackson, Joseph RaymondJoseph Raymond Jackson 1937 1969 Roosevelt
Garrett, Finis JamesFinis James Garrett 1929 1956 Hoover
Lenroot, Irvine LutherIrvine Luther Lenroot 1929 1949 Hoover
Graham, William JohnsonWilliam Johnson Graham 1924 1937 Coolidge
Bland, Oscar EdwardOscar Edward Bland 1923 1951 Harding
Hatfield, Charles SherrodCharles Sherrod Hatfield 1923 1950 Harding
Martin, George EwingGeorge Ewing Martin 1911 1924 Taft
Barber, Orion MetcalfOrion Metcalf Barber 1910 1930 Taft
Smith, James FrancisJames Francis Smith 1910 1928 Taft
Vries, Marion DeMarion De Vries 1910 1922 Taft
Montgomery, Robert MorrisRobert Morris Montgomery 1910 1920 Taft


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. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Elevated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on October 1, 1982, by operation of law.

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