Chief Judge Stark has extensive experience presiding over patent cases, and his departure will leave a void in Delaware.
President Biden has selected Leonard P. Stark—Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware—to be the next member of the Federal Circuit, filling the vacancy that will be left behind when Judge Kathleen M. O'Malley retires in March 2022. Chief Judge Stark will take the place of Judge O'Malley as the only member of the Federal Circuit with experience as a trial judge.
Chief Judge Stark has a wealth of experience presiding over patent cases, having served as a federal district court judge in Delaware since 2010, and as a magistrate judge in Delaware since 2007. Over that span, he has presided over hundreds of patent cases, and currently has more than 250 active patent cases on his docket. That number is likely to increase given that the Federal Circuit has ordered Judge Alan Albright of the Western District of Texas—which currently handles the most patent cases in the United States—to relinquish more cases.
The departure of Chief Judge Stark will leave a significant void in Delaware, where only three other district court judges are on the bench handling a massive docket. It will be interesting to see whether President Biden appoints another district judge in Delaware, such as Magistrate Judge Christopher Burke, who has long worked closely with Chief Judge Stark since 2011.