Judge Sue L. Robinson of the District of Delaware, who announced Friday that she has taken senior status, has attained a national reputation as a patent specialist in her decades on the bench, and her departure will be a major loss for the patent hotspot, attorneys say.
Judge Robinson, who joined the court in 1991 and said she will continue to serve as a senior judge until the summer, has overseen many hundreds of patent cases during her time on the bench, among the most of any federal judge. That deep level of experience helped her manage the district’s heavy patent docket, winning praise from attorneys who have appeared before her.
“Judge Robinson really has an unparalleled level of expertise and respect on a national level,” said Daniel Silver of McCarter & English LLP’s Wilmington, Delaware, office. “We will be lucky if we quickly fill the vacancy, but there are certainly big shoes to fill, and it’s unlikely the person who gets appointed will have the same level of expertise.”
McCarter & English chairman Michael Kelly, who is also based in Wilmington and has known Judge Robinson for 32 years, described her as “smart, hardworking and very thoughtful” and noted that her patent savvy all came from her time as a judge.
“When she came on the bench, she had no patent law experience in private practice. She learned it and became an expert,” he said.