Federal Circuit Briefs Are Finally Available to Public Immediately

By William Vogeler, Esq. on October 17, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

With apologies to Kermit the Frog, it's not easy going green.

Just ask the clerk's office at the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. The appeals court announced a new paperless filing procedure in August, only to revise it in October.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which took some credit for the upgrade, also took some blame for the change-up. In any case, it's all good because now briefs will be available online immediately.

Revised Procedure

Under prior practice, briefs had been withheld from the public online pending review by the clerk's office. That sometimes took days, and made it difficult for attorneys, litigants, and researchers to stay abreast.

The EFF complained to the court about it, and the clerk's office responded with a more streamlined process. After some mea culpa clarifications, the office announced a revised procedure.

"The revised procedure will allow for the immediate filing and public availability of all electronically-filed briefs and appendices," the announcement says.

Because briefs will be online upon filing, deadlines for responsive briefs will coincide with the filing date. The responsive deadline for a corrected or replaced brief will continue to run from the filed and served date of the original.

A Tough Job

The appeals court handles patent, trademark, and other specialty claims across the country. It's a tough job, and the Federal Circuit has to do it.

Fortunately, the revised filing procedure is an improvement. In the old days -- before the change in August -- lawyers had to work around the delay in electronic access.

"We've never had to file a brief without reading the (other) briefs, but we've come close a few times," said EFF attorney Daniel Nazer.

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