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Appealing a court ruling to protect intellectual property

| May 10, 2021 | Business Litigation |

Noncompete agreements, trade secrets and nondisclosure statements may be the company’s last defense in protecting its bottom line. Going to court to enforce them may seem cut and dried, but when the judge makes a mistake, it can effectively destroy the business’s profitability.

When the stakes are high, it may be right to file an appeal.

Reasons for appeal

The appellate court does not hold a new trial, the American Bar Association explains. The appellant is instead trying to show that mistakes in the original trial affected the outcome. So, the argument may be that the judge misinterpreted the definition of proprietary data or did not factor in geographic limitations. Errors in the interpretation of the law are valid reasons for an appeal.

Written arguments

The appellant submits a brief that includes all the facts, court transcripts, arguments and other relevant information. The respondent has an opportunity to file a brief in answer, and then the appellant files an answer to that.

A panel of judges reviews the briefs, and they may make their decision based on these alone. Either party or the judges may request oral arguments so that the attorneys can present a short argument and the judges can ask questions.

Possible outcomes

The court may affirm the original ruling, in which case the appellant would have to decide whether the state supreme court is an option. However, if the appellate court remands the ruling, the lower court will take corrective action. This may involve a modified judgment, a new trial or a reconsideration based on the decision of the appellate court.

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