Hyperlinks to Patents in Federal Circuit Opinions

by Bill Vobach

Do you find it a little bit annoying that the Federal Circuit does not provide hyperlink(s) to the PTO website for the patent(s) at issue in a case? How often do you begin reading a Federal Circuit opinion (from the Federal Circuit website) with a limited reproduction of the claims and feel the need to review the patent for yourself? Pretty often, I would guess. Yet, the Federal Circuit does not take the simple step of hyperlinking the patent number in an opinion to the USPTO database. I’m not entirely sure why this is. If the hyperlink “rots” at some point down the road, it is not a big deal as the patent number is still in the opinion.

In the past, I have wondered if the reason for not doing so was that the Federal Circuit did not want to endorse the PTO website version as being an authentic version of the patent right. Preferring, instead, to rely on the “ribbon copy” version. With the USPTO announcing that it is contemplating electronic patent issuance [Link to Federal Register Notice], let’s hope that the Federal Circuit might begin adding hyperlinks for patents in its opinions. Maybe in a footnote they could even add a hyperlink to the patent file history in Public PAIR, as well!


Update 1/1/2022:

Consider using the Perma CC service from the Harvard Library system to establish a permanent link for your sources or articles: [Link].

Comments are closed.