by Dennis Crouch
I am regularly asked how long it will take for the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to issue its decision in a given patent case. The chart below helps to answer that question. The chart shows a set of boxplots for the timing of Federal Circuit patent decisions appealed from US District Courts. At its most basic, the chart attempts to provide some guidance as to typical timelines from Federal Circuit oral argument until the resulting decision. The boxplot shows the range between the 25th and 75th percentile of that pendency and also the median pendency.
As is apparent, non-precedential opinions (including Rule 36 decisions) are much quicker than precedential decisions. With a comparative median of 7 days to about 4 months respectively. The group as a whole (precedential and non-precedential) has a median pendency of 70 days.
Although not shown here, one driver of even-longer precedential opinions is the appearance of a dissenting opinion — adding about two months to the typical timeline. And, en banc decisions take approximately twice as long as ordinary precedential decisions. The slowest authors are Judge Newman, Rader, and O'Malley; the quickest are Judges Lourie, Moore, and Dyk.