By Jason Rantanen
Last week we let go model 1.16 of the Compendium of Federal Circuit Decisions, which is a publicly-available dataset containing details about all paperwork revealed by the Federal Circuit on its web site since 2004 (which incorporates all opinions and, since 2007, all Rule 36 abstract affirmances). The Compendium was designed from the ground-up for use for empirical analysis moderately than as a traditional authorized analysis instrument.
Generally, there haven’t been any putting adjustments within the statistics for the court docket’s opinions and Rule 36 abstract affirmances to this point in 2020. The beneath two graphs are the fundamental ones that I often show: opinions and Rule 36 affirmances by the Federal Circuit in appeals arising from the PTO and district courts.
The Federal Circuit’s determination output for appeals arising from the USPTO and District Courts for the primary eight months of 2020 appears to be like just like the previous few years. Currently, the court docket is on monitor to put in writing few extra opinions in circumstances arising from the district courts and some much less in circumstances arising from the PTO, however each numbers are just like final 12 months (to this point). It’s value noting that COVID-19 hasn’t actually affected the court docket’s determination output.
One noteworthy shift is the relative drop in Rule 36’s. So far in 2020, the court docket has determined extra appeals by way of the mechanism of nonprecedential opinion and fewer by way of abstract affirmance–particularly in appeals arising from the PTO.
Affirmance charges proceed to be in step with the previous: the overwhelming majority of choices end result within the affirmance of the decrease tribunal.* Over the previous few years, the court docket has persistently affirmed the PTO outright about 80% of the time, and affirmed-in-part one other 7% of the time. The district courts have been affirmed a bit much less usually: about 70% of the time the court docket is affirmed fully, and one other 13% of the time it has been affirmed-in-part. The court docket’s selections in 2020 have been per these metrics.
Who’s written probably the most majority opinions in patent case to this point this 12 months? For appeals arising from the PTAB, it’s been Chief Judge Prost at 14, adopted by “Per Curiam” at 12. This isn’t a brand new growth: panels have been issuing opinions Per Curiam at a price of about 8-16 per 12 months for the previous 5 years. For appeals arising from the district courts, Judge Lourie has written probably the most at 16 opinions to this point this 12 months; Judge Moore has written the second-most at 11 (additionally joined by the panel writing Per Curiam.)
You’re welcome to mess around with the info by yourself right here: https://empirical.law.uiowa.edu/compendium-federal-circuit-decisions. Keep in thoughts that with any empirical information venture, it’s necessary to be aware of what the info means, as well as its limitations (a lot of which I talk about here and here).
*For these questioning how this information pertains to the statistics on the Federal Circuit’s webpage, the Federal Circuit experiences reversal charges based mostly on Financial Year (10/1 – 9/30) moderately than Calendar Year, solely considers full reversals as reversals (i.e.: an affirmance-in-part is just not a reversal), and calculates its reversal price as a operate of appeal docket numbers moderately than selections (for instance, a single determination can, in uncommon cases, concern 10 or extra appeal docket numbers). See id. at 260, 263, 278.
Thanks to Meddie Demmings IV, Dan Kieffer, Lindsay Kriz, Ryan Meger, and Madison Murhammer Colon for help in amassing this information.