trial-appeals2018-09-20T14:55:52+00:00


6.  Trials And Appeals


Trial


A trial is the process where the plaintiff and the defendant submit their dispute to other people for a decision. In some cases the trial is a “bench trial” where the decision maker is the judge. However, most intellectual property infringement trials are decided by juries.


A jury trial begins with the selection of a jury. In federal court the judge will typically ask the prospective jurors questions to determine whether they are suitable and eligible to be on the jury. Sometimes, in the judge’s discretion, the attorneys may be able to ask questions directly to prospective jurors. Jury selection is often a critical stage of the trial, because it is the people on the jury who will be making the ultimate decision.


After jury selection is complete, the attorney for each side has an opportunity to make an opening statement to the jury. An opening statement is an introduction to the evidence that a side plans on presenting during trial. It is an overview of their case. It is not an argument as to who should win.


After opening statements, the parties will present their evidence to the jury by having witnesses testify, and by introducing documents and things into evidence. Each side has an opportunity to question each witness that testifies, and to object to any evidence that the other side tries to introduce. The judge controls the courtroom and makes the decisions as to what evidence is allowed, and what must be excluded.


Once all of the evidence has been presented the judge will then instruct the jury on the law that it must apply in reaching a decision. The attorney for each side will then have an opportunity to present a “closing argument” to the jury. In the closing argument the attorney explains to the jury why the law and the evidence supports their client winning.


After the closing arguments the jury then goes to a jury room where it deliberates, until a decision is reached as to who wins.


Trials in intellectual property infringement cases typically last at least several days. Some of the more complicated ones have been known to last much longer.


Appeals


After judgment is entered, both parties have a limited period of time to file an appeal. Appeals of judgments involving patent infringement claims are made to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington D.C. Appeals of trademark infringement and copyright infringement cases are appealed to the regional circuit court for the district court (e.g. the Ninth Circuit court of appeals for trials in California federal court).


An appeal is a lengthy and expensive process. It involves transmitting the record of the case to the appellate court, preparing formal appeal briefs, and then arguing to a panel of three appellate judges. It is not uncommon for a party to an intellectual property infringement lawsuit to retain appellate counsel that specializes in appeals.


It often takes around a year before a decision is reached by the panel of judges on an appellate court. The panel may affirm the judgment. The panel may also reverse the judgment. In patent cases it is not that uncommon for the Federal Circuit to disagree with the patent claim interpretation of a trial court judge. Sometimes this causes the Federal Circuit to reverse the judgment and return the case to the trial court for another trial, or entry of a new judgment in accordance with the opinion of the appellate judges.


If a party is unhappy with the decision of the Federal Circuit, it can petition the United States Supreme Court to review the case. However, the United States Supreme Court does not have to review the case.

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6.  Trials And Appeals


Trial


A trial is the process where the plaintiff and the defendant submit their dispute to other people for a decision. In some cases the trial is a “bench trial” where the decision maker is the judge. However, most intellectual property infringement trials are decided by juries.


A jury trial begins with the selection of a jury. In federal court the judge will typically ask the prospective jurors questions to determine whether they are suitable and eligible to be on the jury. Sometimes, in the judge’s discretion, the attorneys may be able to ask questions directly to prospective jurors. Jury selection is often a critical stage of the trial, because it is the people on the jury who will be making the ultimate decision.


After jury selection is complete, the attorney for each side has an opportunity to make an opening statement to the jury. An opening statement is an introduction to the evidence that a side plans on presenting during trial. It is an overview of their case. It is not an argument as to who should win.


After opening statements, the parties will present their evidence to the jury by having witnesses testify, and by introducing documents and things into evidence. Each side has an opportunity to question each witness that testifies, and to object to any evidence that the other side tries to introduce. The judge controls the courtroom and makes the decisions as to what evidence is allowed, and what must be excluded.


Once all of the evidence has been presented the judge will then instruct the jury on the law that it must apply in reaching a decision. The attorney for each side will then have an opportunity to present a “closing argument” to the jury. In the closing argument the attorney explains to the jury why the law and the evidence supports their client winning.


After the closing arguments the jury then goes to a jury room where it deliberates, until a decision is reached as to who wins.


Trials in intellectual property infringement cases typically last at least several days. Some of the more complicated ones have been known to last much longer.


Appeals


After judgment is entered, both parties have a limited period of time to file an appeal. Appeals of judgments involving patent infringement claims are made to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington D.C. Appeals of trademark infringement and copyright infringement cases are appealed to the regional circuit court for the district court (e.g. the Ninth Circuit court of appeals for trials in California federal court).


An appeal is a lengthy and expensive process. It involves transmitting the record of the case to the appellate court, preparing formal appeal briefs, and then arguing to a panel of three appellate judges. It is not uncommon for a party to an intellectual property infringement lawsuit to retain appellate counsel that specializes in appeals.


It often takes around a year before a decision is reached by the panel of judges on an appellate court. The panel may affirm the judgment. The panel may also reverse the judgment. In patent cases it is not that uncommon for the Federal Circuit to disagree with the patent claim interpretation of a trial court judge. Sometimes this causes the Federal Circuit to reverse the judgment and return the case to the trial court for another trial, or entry of a new judgment in accordance with the opinion of the appellate judges.


If a party is unhappy with the decision of the Federal Circuit, it can petition the United States Supreme Court to review the case. However, the United States Supreme Court does not have to review the case.

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