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Federal Circuit Appeals Continue as Scheduled Without In-Person Arguments

Yesterday the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit released modifications to court procedures, indicating that all in-person oral arguments are suspended until further notice. Fed. Cir. Admin. Order No. 20-02 (May 18, 2020). While access to the Howard T. Markey National Courts Building has been restricted to “(a) counsel and parties with a scheduled in-person hearing and (b) members of the press who present media credentials” since March 16, 2020 (see Fed. Cir. Operating Status No. 20-03 (Mar. 16, 2020)), the Federal Circuit up to this point had been issuing public advisories on a month-by-month basis notifying parties that all oral arguments will be held telephonically. See Fed. Cir. Updated Pub. Advisory Concerning the Fed. Cir.’s April 2020 Sitting (Mar. 18, 2020); Fed. Cir. Pub. Advisory Concerning the May 2020 Court Session (Apr. 21, 2020); Fed. Cir. Pub. Advisory Concerning the June 2020 Court Session (May 11, 2020).

In issuing its modification order yesterday, the Court identified its national jurisdiction, the varying approaches and timeframes for communities reopening and the impact on travel due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Chief Judge Prost also clarified that all case scheduling will continue in accordance with existing procedures and that the Court may also choose to dispense with oral arguments where they are determined to be unnecessary pursuant to Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 34(a)(2)(C). Even though the timing as to when in-person arguments will resume at the Court remains unknown, yesterday’s order in a way provides greater predictability to counsel appearing before the court that in the near term their argument, if any, will be telephonic.

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About this Author

Brad Scheller Patent Litigation Attorney Mintz Law Firm

Brad Scheller is a trial attorney who focuses his patent litigation practice on representing clients in the automotive devices, thermoplastics, electronic components and consumer products industries in federal district court, before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board and at the International Trade Commission. With a background in mechanical engineering and over 14 years of experience practicing law, Brad has successfully represented patent owners in enforcing their rights against infringers and protecting those rights from challenges of invalidity, and has also successfully defended and...

Jessica L. Perry Associate Boston Patent Litigation Federal District Court

Jessica focuses her intellectual property practice on litigation and advising clients on infringement and invalidity issues. She has experience representing clients in federal district court, before the International Trade Commission, and Patent Trial and Appeal Board in matters involving patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade dress, and trade secrets. Jessica works with clients in a variety of industries, including software, medical devices, sporting equipment, and consumer goods.

Prior to joining Mintz, Jessica was a litigation associate at a global intellectual property law firm where she handled a broad range of IP cases and represented a federal criminal defendant at trial. She was also a summer associate at that firm. Earlier, she was an IP & licensing analyst at Boston University’s Technology Development Office and a senior mechanical design engineer at a leading global aerospace and defense product supplier.