Federal Circuit

Federal Circuit - The FindLaw Federal Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog


"Congress could not have intended that a single employee's objection to a TSA decision, no matter how well-intentioned that objection might be, would allow the employee to take matters into his own hands and divulge information that could be exploited to jeopardize the country's transportation infrastructure and the lives and livelihoods of those who depend upon it."

Legal arguments work so much better when you can undergird them with a bit of fear, don't they? Phrases like "another 9/11 incident" really underscore the stakes behind what is basically a case of statutory interpretation using legislative history.

But don't be mistaken: This is an interesting legal case, and not just briefs full of fluff, fear, fire and brimstone. As we've discussed repeatedly, the legal saga of whistleblower and former Air Marshal Robert MacLean boils down to a single phrase: "specifically prohibited by law," an issue which is clouded by a vague statute and mixed statutory history.

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Patent trolls have a bad rap, understandably so, and recently the Federal Circuit ruled against a patent troll whose actions were described as "unethical to say the least," by one print media consultant.

The Federal Circuit brings to a close litigation that the troll brought against the likes of Xerox, EFI, Konica Minolta, Fujifilm and Ricoh.

In 2011, the Navy was faced with a situation of "overmanning" and need to "optimize the quality of the navy," so it did the military's version of a layoff and created an Enlisted Retention Board, which resulted in the honorable discharge of many sailors. The Navy notified sailors about positions that were overmanned, quotas, and gave them the ability to convert to an undermanned position. After this process, 2,946 sailors were chosen for separation, and sailors were honorably discharged.

Three hundred sailors sued in the Court of Federal Claims for back pay, and challenged the Navy's decision to create the ERB, the decision to discharge, and also alleged the discharges violated due process, as well as statutory and regulatory requirements.

On May 30, 2014, Sharon Prost succeed Randall Rader as Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit, and earlier this month Judge Alan Lourie told us the "State of the Court" at the Federal Circuit Bar Association's 16th Annual Bench & Bar Conference.

Amidst all of this change and review for the court, last week Judge Randall Rader had his last day on the Federal Circuit bench and sent an open letter to his colleagues. Just a week later, criticisms of the Federal Circuit and its exclusive jurisdiction of patents are growing ever louder.

Earlier this month, the Federal Circuit Bar Association held its 16th Annual Bench & Bar Conference in Asheville, North Carolina. The theme was "Sharpening Case Management: The Challenges at Home and Abroad," and the conference had meetings about topics including IP protection trends, agency action trends, ethics and civility, damages litigation, customs enforcement and cybersecurity, to name a few.

One of the highlights of the conference, was the delivery of the "State of the Court" by Circuit Judge Alan D. Lourie.

Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International was one of the most anticipated patent decisions this term, as companies and attorneys alike, were eager to see how the Supreme Court would determine the fate of software patents.

And all that waiting with bated breath was for naught. Instead, the Court gave us a ruling that did little to change the existing legal landscape.

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation ("WARF") holds U.S. Patent No. 7,019,913 ("'913"), which discloses "a purified preparation of primate embryonic stem cells."

Consumer Watchdog, a "nonprofit organization dedicated to providing an effective voice for taxpayers and consumers in an era when special interests dominate public discourse, government and politics," sought inter partes reexamination of Patent '913 in 2006. When it the group was unsuccessful in the reexamination, it appealed to the Federal Circuit.

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Last month former Federal Circuit Chief Judge Randall Rader resigned from his post to squash any appearance of impropriety following the news that he had written a complimentary letter to an attorney that appeared before his court.

Following his departure, Judge Sharon Prost has taken the helm as new Federal Circuit Chief Judge -- let's learn a little more about her.

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In January, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in two patent cases originating in the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals: Limelight Networks, Inc. v. Akamai Technologies, Inc. and Nautilus, Inc. v. Biosig Instruments, Inc.

Both cases were granted cert. on the same day, and the decisions in both cases were handed down on the same day. Read on to learn how the Court decided.

My colleague William Peacock has covered the case of the discharged Federal Air Marshal and his questionable defense to the Whistleblower Protection Act for some time, and in his last article, he reasonably bet on a cert. denial.

But, the Supreme Court likes to surprise us, and in an unforeseen twist, has granted cert. in what we all thought was (for once), a clear case.