Federal Circuit Caseload

The Federal Circuit has provided a statistical update on its caseload through the end of the 2008 fiscal year.  Here’s a brief rundown.

Patent Infringement Appeals

There were 392 appeals in patent infringement cases from district courts, down only slightly from 2007, but at the lowest level since 2001.  Of those, 268 (65%) were decided by the court on the merits, with the remainder either settled, mediated, dismissed, or disposed of in another manner.  The court issued 152 (57%) precedential decisions, 80 non-precedential decisions (30%), and 36 summary orders (13%).  There were also 54 patent appeals from the PTO, of which 22 (41%) were adjudicated on the merits.

For all cases, the Federal Circuit had a 13% reversal rate, with another 13% of cases reversed-in-part.  In appeals from district courts, 19% were reversed, and another 24% were reversed-in-part.  This means that 43% of the district court cases appealed to the Federal Circuit are sent back to the district court to reconsider at least some part of the case.  By contrast, the court didn’t issue a complete reversal of any PTO appeal during the fiscal year.

On a positive note, the court is disposing of appeals at the fastest rate of any year in the last ten.  District court appeals are taking an average of 11.0 months from docketing to disposition, while appeals from the PTO (which include trademark appeals) are taking an average of 8.9 months from docketing to disposition.

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