December 13, 2004 11:29 AM
Federal Circuit to Pre-Announce Panels
The Federal Circuit, perhaps bowing to the reality of panel-dependency shown in our study of claim construction, has decided to pre-announce panel compositions. The court's statement:
The court has decided to post the composition of panels the Thursday prior to the week of oral argument as an experiment. This information will be found in the Pending Argument Calendar. Comments from the public are welcome.
Whether this is a good idea or not is a difficult question. On the plus side, it makes it far easier to prepare for oral argument (and thus probably leads to better, more effective arguments). A major con is that to the extent that it encourages last-minute settlement, the long-term effects will be to bias the jurisprudence in favor of the unpredictable panels -- which is unlikely to lead to more coherent and predictable jurisprudence.