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Handling Appeals in Patent Cases: Tips for Practitioners

By Eugene M. Gelernter of Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP

Eugene M. Gelernter is a partner in the New York office of Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP. For more than 15 years his practice has focused on the trial and appeal of patent infringement cases in a broad range of technologies, including medical devices, electronic equipment for imaging and for data compression, software, pharmaceuticals, and biotech products. For more information on Mr. Gelernter, please visit

Whether your client is the patent owner or the accused infringer, patent cases are high-stakes litigation.  But even if the outcome in district court has gone against your client, all is not necessarily lost.  An appeal to the Federal Circuit offers the possibility of redemption.

Published data shows that the Federal Circuit reverses the district court in 17% of appeals – the highest reversal rate for any circuit in civil cases.

Writing an effective appeal brief poses the many of the same challenges in patent cases as in other types of cases.  However, some points are unique to patent cases.  Here are ten suggestions for briefing patent appeals:

  • Limit the number of issues you raise.  Raising many issues will not increase your chances of success on appeal.  As the appellant, your client is bett...

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