Federal Circuit Begins Publishing Orders on Motions

The Federal Circuit has taken another valuable step toward transparency in its operations. Notably, the court has begun to post electronic versions of orders resolving motions that are processed through its Senior Staff Attorney. Publication began on January 30, 2009. I have sought some clarification from the Court on its statement that “certain orders are not posted on this page.”

The outcomes of motions are important to the parties involved as well as amicus filers. There have also been occasions when the outcome of a motion impacts stock prices. Perhaps the most common stock-swinging issue involves the Federal Circuit’s decision on whether to stay injunctive relief pending appeal. Previously, these orders were difficult to obtain electronically or remotely.

Certain motions may be decided by the Clerk – especially when a motion is unopposed. Others go to a Federal Circuit judge assigned to handle motions that month. My understanding is that the Senior Staff Attorney will ordinarily present the motion (and response) to the judge with a potential order as well. If a case is already scheduled on the hearing calendar, motions will be transmitted to the panel for adjudication.

Most of the orders are mundane. Here is a sample from last week:

  • IGT v. Alliance Gaming: Denying motion to dismiss on for lack of subject matter jurisdiction (no final order).
  • Blackboard v. Desire2Learn: Granted motion to remove protective order covering the E.D. Tex. supplemental claim construction judgment.
  • Garber v. CME: Extension of time granted.
  • The Forrest Group v. Bon Tool: Motion granted to allow Paul Hletko to file an amicus brief. Forrest Group had opposed.
  • Excel Innovations v. Indivos Corp: Motion granted to allow Mark Davies to take over as principal counsel.


  • Search for CAFC Orders [LINK]
  • CAFC Guide to Motion Practice [LINK]
  • Top 10 easy-to-fix problems with motions [LINK]

7 thoughts on “Federal Circuit Begins Publishing Orders on Motions

  1. 7

    Will someone tell me how the orders in the list were found online. It is easy enough to find an order if you know the name,civ. no., or date of filing. But how do you find orders published all in one database, only the orders processed through the Senior Staff Attorney and not the list of every docket before the CAFC? Thanks!

  2. 5

    You are correct it is not all FDC, nor is it all docs. That said, some FDC do post in real time, all docs not held confidential, and I think it is the right of the people to expect that. Is PACER flawed? Sure, it is insane to have each court keep its owns docs, but it is much better than anything the FedCIr has, and it should be adopted.

    Of course I did not mean they are intentionally hiding something, but, I believe that really proves that when posting on a patent law blog I guess I should expect complete left brain humorless folks to respond.

  3. 4

    “me,” I suspect it’s more a matter of resources and logistics than secrecy.

    Most of the courts of appeals are far behind the district courts in terms of online accessibility of briefs and other filings.

    The CAFC’s PACER system is about the worst I’ve ever seen, though. It’s not kept up to date, and sometimes I’ve seen briefs show up on Westlaw that aren’t reflected on the the docket until weeks pass.

    Mr. Dhuey, if you’re serious about wanting to see what can be done to move the court in the direction of district court w/r/t e-filing, the CAFC has an advisory council you could contact
    link to cafc.uscourts.gov

    and it has a clerk/circuit executive named Jan Horbaly.

    Given their busy jobs and the low signal-to-noise ratio on this blog’s comments section, I doubt they monitor the comments for helpful “suggestions.” Though if John Dudas is ever forced to wear a dunce cap and prosecute patent applications or Judge Newman is appointed Patent Law Overlord for Life, I’ll retract this last comment.

  4. 3

    Like every “other district court”? Incorrect.

    And I couldn’t figure out from the summary in the article why Forrest Gump would be opposed…

  5. 2

    It is completely unacceptable that the FedCir is not forced to post everything in PACER like every other district court – for all to see!

    Come on FedCir, open up and get with the program, what do you have to hide?

  6. 1

    To everyone at the CAFC: I’m a big supporter of the court’s move to greater online accessibility. If you need any outside beta testers for anything, I’d be happy to volunteer.

    I hope the court will follow the lead of the district courts in adopting Electronic Case Filing. There could still be a hardcopy requirement for briefs, petitions and other important filings, but these should also be filed electronically. Mundane filings like EOA, docketing statement, etc., should be electronic-only.

    Feel free to contact me (info. in court records) if you would like to discuss any of this.

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