Saturday, April 29, 2006

Egregious Procrastination...

...does yield interesting items. Among them, Likelihood of Confusion's mention (under the catchy title "No More Star Chamber Rulings") of a new ruling handed down from On High: starting next year, lawyers in federal courts may cite unpublished opinions. (The non-lawyers or non-law students out there may in fact have been unaware that there are such things as unpublished opinions--yes, there are, and there are lots of them.)

This move is, I think, correct--to my mind the continued existence of unpublished opinions is an uncomfortable concept of questionable constitutionality--and am therefore in agreement with Mr. Coleman's comments:

"The issue of non-citability and “not precedential” rulings in the federal courts is a troubling one, because it goes square against the idea of the common law and statutory interpretations as being based on accretions of precedent. There is usually no way for the mortal to know why one decision is regarded as worthy of being deemed precedential and others are not, nor to understand why, if it is not good enough for precedent, the ratio decidendi (if you will!) of a given opinion was good enough for that case. Judge Kozinski takes a shot at explaining why citation to unpublished opinions is not allowed here, essentially arguing from the not-too-principled position that they’re not written all that well, but this still leaves us with the question of published TTAB decisions not being citable."

...Back to work...

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