In the last few weeks, the Federal Circuit has been publishing opinions via its web site that include a date that follows the case name.  You can see some examples below:

The dates tend to be one or two working days before the opinions are released to the public.  So, they are not actually the date of the opinions.  The Federal Circuit has not published any explanation on its web site for this new procedure.  My best guess is that perhaps it reflects the date that the opinions are submitted to the clerk’s office.  And, perhaps the dates are intended to be one mode of precedential tie-breaker, if two opinions are released officially on the same day but with opposing viewpoints on an issue.  See Patently-O, “Priority of Precedent: When Same-Day Federal Circuit Opinions are in Tension” [Link].

Update June 19, 2018:

Curiously, the Federal Circuit is now publishing the list of cases without dates.  And, the court has removed the dates that were previously listed.  So, we are back to the old system.

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