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Parties who believe that a legal, factual, or procedural error took place during their intellectual property trials have the right to appeal. These cases are usually federal in nature and must follow a series of steps while meeting the requirements necessary for an appeal. Regardless of whether you are the appellant (appealing party) or the appellee (the party who prevailed in the trial court), you need to know the basics of intellectual property appeals. The Keleher Appellate Law Group can serve you through the appeals process.

Are There Grounds for an Appeal?

First, the parties should understand whether there are grounds to appeal the case. Simply disliking the trial court’s decision is insufficient. Generally, the appellant must be able to show one of the following:

  • Error of law: Making a mistake in interpreting or applying the law is a common ground and may specifically include ignoring legal precedent.
  • Error of fact: The absence of sufficient evidence or making some other factual error could affect the court’s decision.
  • Procedural mistake: Courts must follow certain procedures regarding evidence, civil procedure, and other matters.
  • Bias or other misconduct: Evidence of bias or some other inappropriate behavior on the part of the judge, jury, or a party could support an appeal.
  • New evidence: If newly discovered evidence is presented (meaning, it was not available at the time of trial) the appeal might proceed.

Steps Involved in the Appeal

Most appeals of intellectual property decisions include these steps:

  • Filing the notice: The notice of appeal formally begins the appellate process. It informs both the trial and appellate court that a party intends to appeal. It’s important to understand that a party only has a limited amount of time, generally 30 days, to file this document or the appeal will be dismissed.
  • Preparing and designating the record on appeal: Because the appellate court judges were not present at the trial, they will need to review the court’s record. A transcript of the trial court’s proceedings will be included here. With this record, the appellate court can identify potential errors supporting the appeal.
  • Filing the appellate brief: The brief is designed to argue for the appeal itself. By invoking legal precedent and supporting case law, along with arguments and identification of supporting evidence, the appealing party can present its case. This critical document forms the foundation of the next step.
  • Oral argument: A panel of three appellate judges will often hear oral arguments from the parties. Oral argument serves a few fundamental purposes like clarifying points in the briefs, allowing the judges to ask questions and receive answers, highlighting key arguments made in the brief, and generally presenting the case for or against the appeal.
  • The decision: After reviewing the record on appeal and briefs, and hearing oral arguments, the appellate court will do one of the following:
  1. Affirm the lower court’s ruling
  2. Reverse the lower court’s ruling (in whole or in part)
  3. Remand the decision back to the lower court with instructions to handle a specific issue on appeal.

Here to Handle Every Aspect of Your Intellectual Property Litigation

Whether at the trial or appellate level, we understand the importance of your intellectual property matter and what it takes to present a compelling case. We can represent you in litigation and other proceedings and ensure your interests are represented. To learn more, contact The Keleher Appellate Law Group today.

About the Author
Christopher Keleher clerked for the Hon. William J. Bauer of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.  This unique opportunity provided Mr. Keleher with an invaluable understanding of the inner workings of an appellate court.  He saw what persuades judges and what does not, and utilizes this knowledge every time he writes an appellate brief. The Keleher Appellate Law Group handles all phases of appellate litigation in federal and state courts across the country. Read more here.