Federal Circuit

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

Marvell Case Update: Federal Circuit Waits for SCOTUS to Rule

The Appeals Court for the Federal Circuit has decided to cool its jets with regards to multi-billion dollar case Mellon University v. Marvell Tech, waiting for SCOTUS to make its decision in Halo and several other big-ticket infringement cases.

A Pennsylvania District Court had awarded the University a cool $1.54 billion dollars based on a finding of willful infringement on the part of Marvell. However, the Federal Circuit panel reduced that award, pointing to a number of factors including a finding by the circuit that Marvell had a, objectively reasonable defense to Mellon's claims, and the potential removal of foreign sales based on where sales contracts were executed.

Electric Transmissions Are Not Within USITC's Jurisdiction, Court Rules

The U.S. Federal Circuit's decision in ClearCorrect v. ITC and AlignTech has the potential be one of year's most important copyright / intellectual property cases, significantly outlining the boundaries of what the agency can and cannot oversee.

In the case, the court overturned the U.S. International Trade Commission's determination that "articles" includes electronic data that infringes on a U.S. patent.

Erroneous Salmonella Warning Not 'a Taking' Federal Cir. Affirms

Under the Takings Clause, the government is not allowed to take individual property for the benefit of the public without just compensation. What constitutes "a taking" has been the subject of debate since the very beginning ...

The Federal Circuit just affirmed a lower District court's decision that a salmonella warning does not amount to a government "taking." The lawyers who represented the growers in this case were really reaching on this one. It's a fine example of creative advocacy.

The Supreme Court granted cert to two appeals from the Federal Circuit on Monday. Both cases -- the only intellectual property cases the High Court has agreed to hear this year -- challenge the Federal Circuit's two-part test for awarding treble damages in patent infringement cases.

The petitioners' argument is fairly straight forward: the law is simple, granting discretion to the courts in awarding adequate damages; the Federal Circuit's test is far from simple, imposing rigid restrictions on damage awards. If Supreme Court history is our guide, the Federal Circuit won't fair very well.

There's nothing surprising about a bad faith patent infringement claim. Patent trolls are legion. Those unscrupulous individuals and companies extort payment against alleged infringers based on shoddy patents or questionable infringement. And while the practice has lead for calls for patent reform, little action has been taken on the federal level.

Vermont recently stepped into that void, suing a patent holder for violations of its state consumer protection act. Those patent holders sought to remove the suit to federal court, on the basis of federal preemption. The Federal Circuit does have jurisdiction to hear those appeals, the Federal Circuit ruled on Wednesday, just not in this case.

The long running patent battle between Apple and Samsung (now in year four) won't be ending anytime soon. Though a federal court had found that Samsung violated Apple's "slide to unlock" and auto-linking patents, it also refused to enjoin Samsung from selling those patent infringing products. According to the court, Apple simply couldn't show that Samsung's patent infringing features were harming its sales.

That was the wrong standard, the Federal Circuit ruled. Apple didn't have to show that a Galaxy phone's slide to unlock feature was directly connected to a loss of sales. A simple loss of sales due to Samsung is enough. Samsung will likely be forced to pull those phones from the market as a result of the ruling.

Contact manufactures can't patent a method for making contact lens material, the Federal Circuit ruled this week. That's because the process used is simply too obvious to be eligible for patent protection, the court found.

The court's ruling came 35 years Dome filed a patent for a method of making lenses which had increased oxygen permeability. When the patent was filed in 1980, contact lens makers were still struggling to move away from the unbreathable plexiglass lenses which were standard in the 70s. While a breakthrough, flexible, breathable polymer lenses were also so obvious at their time of invention that anyone could have made them.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodies, the Latin goes. Who watches the watchmen? Today, in certain circles, you might also hear people wondering, "Who judges the judiciary?" Given the fact that the Supreme Court has had a slightly less conservative term and that certain circuits -- we won't name any names -- often rule against conservative interests, many on the right wing are starting to discuss instituting an Inspector General of the Federal Courts to act as a check on supposed judicial activism, corruption or overreach.

The Inspector General of the Federal Courts would investigate alleged misconduct, seek out fraud and waste, and recommend changes in the judiciary -- even to our sleepy Federal Circuit.

If you've gotten a paternity test or fetal DNA test in the last twenty years, you have probably benefited from the discovery of cell-free fetal DNA, or cffDNA. This DNA is non-cellular bits of DNA floating freely in the blood stream of a pregnant woman, which can be extracted from maternal plasma and serum and tested for paternity and other genetic information.

After cffDNA was discovered, a method of detecting and interpreting it was commercialized by Sequenom and patented by Drs. Dennis Lo and James Wainscoat. Paternity and genetic tests based on cffDNA are significantly less invasive than other forms of testing. Unfortunately for Sequenom, however, those methods are also unpatentable, the Federal Circuit ruled last week.

The Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act's petition support requirement does not violate due process, the Federal Circuit ruled recently. That Act, also known as the Byrd Amendment, though in effect only briefly, allowed for the collection and distribution of duties on imported goods found to have been dumped into the U.S. market by foreign producers. Only domestic producers who supported the petition are allowed to receive the collected funds.

That petition support requirement, however, effected support decisions that were made before the law was passed. Thus, producers who did not support a petition were stopped from receiving antidumping duties, even though they had no prior warning that this would be the case. That was a reasonable requirement, the court found, one which rewarded producers for the support of the law.