In the Patents Court, there is no set period of time by which the judgment must be due, but it is usual practice for judges to provide judgments within three months of the end of the trial, often much sooner.
The judgment is initially provided to the parties on a confidential basis in draft. The parties are invited to identify typographical errors as well as any omissions; however, it is not an opportunity to reargue the case or to put in further submissions. While the judgment remains in draft, it is subject to strict restrictions on its use and dissemination. In particular, it is confidential to the parties and their legal representatives, and neither the draft itself nor its substance may be disclosed to any other person or be used in the public domain. The parties are required to take all reasonable steps to ensure that the confidentiality of the draft judgment is preserved, so it is common for it to only be circulated among a limited group of individuals. Further, no action is permitted to be taken by a party (other than internally) in response to the draft before judgment has been formally handed down. A breach of any of these obligations may be treated as a contempt of court.
The formal hand down of the judgment usually takes place approximately one week after the draft is received by the parties, after the court has considered any proposed amendments. This is usually an administrative matter where no parties attend the court; a separate date will be set after the judgment is handed down to hear arguments on the form of order the court should make consequential upon the judgment.139 This allows the parties some time to consider the issues arising from the judgment and to prepare any necessary evidence, for example, on costs. If the consequentials hearing is delayed to a later date, any party that is considering appealing the decision will need to ask the court to extend the time to file any appeal on a pro tem basis, since the time to file an appeal runs from the time the judgment is handed down.140 At the same time, a party will request a 31.22 Order if relevant (see Section 9.6.10 above).