sotomayorPresident Obama has selected Sonia Sotomayor to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant by retiring Justice Souter. Prior to being selected to the federal bench in 1991 by George Bush, Sotomayor was in private practice in New York…and her specialty was intellectual property law. She represented clients like Ferrari and Fendi in intellectual property, commodities trading and business cases.

The president had said publicly that he wanted a justice who combined intellect and empathy — someone who could understand the troubles of everyday Americans.

From an IP viewpoint, let’s hope her background can help the Supreme Court make some sense out of upcoming copyright and patent litigation.

Here is a brief biography of federal Judge Sonia Sotomayor:

Age 54 (Born June 25, 1954)

Judicial Career
– U.S. Appeals Court judge, 2nd Circuit, 1998-present
– U.S. District Court judge, 1992-1998
– Nominated to federal bench by Bush in 1991, Clinton in 1997

Government/Legal Career
– Former N.Y. County Assistant District Attorney, 1979-1984
– Former private practice attorney, Pavia & Harcourt, New York, 1984-1992

– Confirmed by Senate 67-29 in 1998
– Confirmation to current seat took over 1 year
– Was opposed by majority of Republican senators
– Was unopposed in 1991 confirmation process

– J.D., Yale Law School, 1979
– B.A., Princeton, 1976 (summa cum laude)

Academic Positions
– Adjunct Professor, New York University School of Law since 1998
– Lecturer-in-law, Columbia Law School since 1999

Professional Associations
– American Bar Association
– Puerto Rican Bar Association
– Hispanic National Bar Association
– Association of Judges of Hispanic Heritage
– New York Women’s Bar Association

Judicial Committees & Activities
Former Member, Second Circuit Task Force on Gender, Racial and Ethnic Fairness
in the Courts

Other Activities
– Former Member, Board of Directors, New York City Campaign Finance Board
– Former Member, Board of Directors, State of New York Mortgage Agency
– Former Member, Board of Directors, Puerto Rican Legal Defense & Education
– Former Member, Board of Directors, Maternity Center Association
– Former Member, New York City Campaign Public Finance Board (Mayor’s
– Former Member, Board of Directors, State of New York Mortgage Agency
(Governor’s Appointee)

Honors & Awards
– Herbert L. Lehman College, Degree of Law Honoris Causa, 1999
– Brooklyn Law School Degree of Juris Doctor Honoris Causa, 2001
– Princeton Univ., Degree of Juris Doctor Honoris Causa, 2001

– Statehood and the Equal Footing Doctrine: The Case for Puerto Rican Seabed
Rights, 88 Yale Law Journal 825 (1979)
– Sonia Sotomayor & Nicole A. Gordon, Returning Majesty to the Law and
Politics: A Modern Approach, 30 Suffolk U.L. Rev. 35 (1996)