2014-15 Judicial Branch Fellow, Federal Judicial Center
JD and PhD, Economics
As AAAS S&T Policy Fellowships’ inaugural judicial fellow, Shubha enjoyed an instructive and productive experience at the Federal Judicial Center (FJC). Fellows work with the FJC to develop their portfolio for the year.
While at the FJC, my activity overlapped with my research and teaching interests in innovation, technology, and policy. Looking back, the fellowship was a great environment in which to open up new avenues for research and to make contacts at the FJC.
Shuhbha researched and drafted two reports for use by the agency in its internal study of patent litigation and the federal judiciary. For one report, he traced the impact of the US Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc., in which the court invalidated patents on naturally occurring DNA. The other report examines legislation and judicial opinions on fee-shifting in patent litigation.
“While the standard rule is that each party to litigation bears its own fees and costs, patent law shifts attorney’s fees and costs to the losing party in exceptional cases,” Shubha explained. Since the standard for what counts as exceptional has shifted over time, he could conduct an empirical study on how different legal rules affect litigation behavior. “This kind of a study is important because Congress is contemplating changing the rules for fee-shifting in patent cases in order to prevent frivolous litigation by patent trolls,” he said.
Shubha also learned about the internal workings of the FJC and its role in promoting the interests of the federal judiciary and aligning its activities with those of Congress. “These internal interactions have been invaluable to my education as a fellow,” he said.