Skip to content

It looks like we may have content for your preferred language. Would you like to view this page in English?

Perils of Incorporation by Reference at the Federal Circuit

Because judicial resources are limited, virtually all courts impose length limitations, such as word, page or line limits, for briefing. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit limits a party's principal brief to 30 pages, unless the brief contains no more than 14,000 words or 1,300 lines of text if using a monospaced typeface.

While these limits, particularly the 14,000-word option, might appear generous, in practice, this is a rather tight limit for a principal appellate brief. The result is that parties often must make strategic decisions regarding which arguments to marshal and the amount of detail to devote to each argument. In many cases, parties are forced to omit arguments that they consider meritorious. Parties usually manage length limitations through careful selection of arguments and drafting as well as wordsmithing.

In this Law360 article written by Patent Litigation partner Ryan Hagglund, Ryan discusses the Federal Circuit's decision in the November 2023 Medtronic, Inc. v. Teleflex Life Sciences Inc. case to illustrate and display how more aggressive approaches, such as a company’s attempt to make additional arguments through incorporation by reference, can prove risky and result in waiver of arguments and result in an adverse decision on appeal.

To read the full article, visit Law360’s website.