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Request for Injunctive Relief in Complaint, Not Briefing, Controls “Final Judgment” Inquiry

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The principle that the complete adjudication of a patent dispute requires that both liability and remedy be fully established is well-settled. If a court has entered judgment on one, but not the other, any appeal is likely premature. But what if a party that has sought injunctive relief in its complaint declines to brief the issue following a liability judgment and instead seeks an immediate appeal?

According to the Federal Circuit, the appeal remains premature. By granting a motion to dismiss an appeal from a District of Delaware jury’s decision on infringement and invalidity, the appellate court characterized the unbriefed issue as an “unadjudicated request for injunctive relief” that “remains pending before the district court.” Accordingly, it is a party’s pre-judgment request, not its later abandonment, that controls the jurisdictional inquiry on appeal.

ACS Inc. v. Guidant Sales Corp., No. 2007-1365 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 1, 2007).

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