Paul M. Janicke, University of Houston, has just posted an article that appeared in the Antitrust Law Journal, To Be Or Not To Be: The Long Gestation of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (1887-1982). Here's the abstract:
Legislative efforts to create a single national court for patent appeals began in 1887 and appeared with frequency over the ensuing ninety-five years. Arguments for and against a court of specialized jurisdiction appeared, subsided, and reappeared. The ultimately successful Congressional philosophy leading to passage of a bill in 1982 to create the court was elimination of inconsistent results in the regional courts of appeal, but its first chief judge, Howard T. Markey, had as his major goals elimination of sloganistic precedents and adherence to the language of the patent statute. In these goals the court has been largely successful, due in part to the deferential attitude of the Supreme Court toward the new court on matters of doctrinal patent law.