When the court reaches a final decision in a case, the court enters judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 36. The Clerk’s Office enters a separate judgment whenever a case is disposed of by opinion. When no opinion is issued in a case and the case is disposed of by order without opinion, the order of the court serve as the judgment. See Fed. Cir. R. 36.
After judgment is entered, a party may choose to petition for rehearing before this court or petition for writ of certiorari (pdf) with the U.S. Supreme Court. Parties need not wait for the mandate to issue before petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari.
The court issues its mandate, which returns the case to the originating tribunal, seven days after either the time to file a petition for rehearing expires or the court denies the petition for rehearing. In some cases, the court may shorten or extend the time to issue the mandate. See Fed. R. App. P. 41.
When a case is dismissed on consent or for failure to prosecute, or when a case is dismissed or remanded on motion, the order of dismissal will constitute the mandate. See Fed. Cir. R. 41