Archive for February, 2024

Two years between oral argument and opinion in the Fourth Circuit

Friday, February 23rd, 2024

One thing I like about some of the circuits other than the Federal Circuit is that they print the date of oral argument on the published opinion. The Fourth Circuit is one such circuit. In Sony Music Entertainment v. COX COMMUNICATIONS, INCORPORATED, No. 21-1168 (4th Cir. Feb. 20, 2024), the Fourth Circuit heard oral argument on March 9, 2022 and decided the appeal on February 20, 2024 — roughly two years between oral argument and decision. At the Federal Circuit, you might be the target of a formal complaint if you took that long to complete your opinion.

IPWatchdog highlighted this case earlier today. I thought the oral argument might be of interest given that a billion dollar damages award for copyright infringement was reversed for a new damages trial.

[It is interesting to note how the Fourth Circuit records its oral arguments. I’m not sure what the technical term is for the audio technique, perhaps “stereo”; but, the attorneys are recorded on one channel while the judges are recorded on a second channel. Thus, during playback, it is much easier to hear the conversational flow between the attorneys and the judges. At least on my computer, the attorneys’ voices are coming out of the left speaker and the judges’ voices are coming out of the right speaker. The Federal Circuit and perhaps the Supreme Court seem to record their oral arguments in mono.]