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


The Circuit Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit explained in the recent In Re: Micron Technology opinion that the huge SCOTUS TC Heartland decision effectively changed the law on venue in patent cases. That change is causing ripple effects for cases in active litigation, and the ripples might take some time to work their way out of the system.

Essentially, SCOTUS ruled in TC Heartland to limit patent infringement venue to the location of the infringement or the infringer's principal place of business. Because of that ruling, scores of patent cases became eligible for dismissal on grounds of improper venue. But there's a catch, and the Federal Circuit has made it a little easier for those on the receiving end of an infringement case.

Attorneys' Fees Denied for Last-Minute Filing

When it comes to attorneys' fees, some good deeds go unpaid.

Counsel for Henry Simmons, who suffered from Guillain-Barre Syndrome, learned that lesson the hard way. After the attorney filed a last-minute claim under a federal statute, the client disappeared and the case was dismissed.

The lawyer filed a petition for attorneys' fees, which were allowed under the law. But a federal appeals court said the claim was not reasonable -- even though the attorney had to file the case if only to preserve the statute of limitations.

In a recent case out of the Federal Circuit Court of Appeal applying the Alice v. CLS standard, the appellant unsuccessfully sought to overturn a district court's dismissal. The case, Two-Way Media LTD. v. Comcast Cable Communications, was dismissed as the district court found the patent claims ineligible for protection under section 101.

In short, the court relied on the rational in Alice to determine that Two-Way Media's patent claims were directed at abstract ideas and did not contain the necessary additional elements required to transform the nature of the claims into ones that are patent eligible.

Not all Silicon Valley legal disputes get handled in California. Google has found itself in front of the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals quite a bit recently, particularly as the tech giant's self-driving car division, Waymo, has started to take off.

If you're wondering why, the answer is rather simple: The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals is home to more patent cases than any other federal appellate court because it's the only circuit court of appeals with jurisdiction over patent appeals. And naturally, tech companies are going to fight over tech patents. Fortunately, this means the judges on the court are usually rather well suited to hearing cases involving tech companies.

Below are three recent Google cases at the Federal Circuit.

Federal Circuit Shifts Burden of Proof in Patent Challenges

Who'd have thought an automatic swimming pool cleaner would make such a splash on patent law?

But such is the case in Aqua Products, Inc. v. Matal after a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Divided on the core question of a patent owner's ability to amend claims, the appeals court issued what it called a "narrow" opinion.

The justices said a petitioner in an inter parties review has the burden to prove unpatentability in amended claims. That changes everything.

Thanks to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and a recent SCOTUS decision, a patent infringement case filed by Raytheon against Cray Inc. in the Eastern District of Texas is being sent to the federal district court in Cray's home state of Washington.

The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals followed the U.S. Supreme Court precedent established in TC Heartland v. Kraft to explain that the one salesman Cray had within the Eastern District of Texas did not satisfy the venue requirements established by TC Heartland. This ruling reversed the lower district court's ruling dismissing the challenge to venue, while contemporaneously transferring the venue.

Waymo v. Uber Headed to Trial

Uber just missed its last exit before a trial that threatens the company's self-driving technology.

The company wanted to push the case into arbitration, but a federal judge denied its request. Trial is set to begin Oct. 10 in Waymo, LLC v. Uber Technologies, Inc.

There's always a chance for a continuance, but that's not likely. Judge William Alsup is ready to go, and the orders are falling into place.

Apple is one of the most recognizable brands in the world. According to Forbes, it's also one of the most valuable. So it's no surprise that the company faces more than its fair share of litigation.

The legal battles between Apple and Samsung get the most headlines. We've covered that drama closely in our Federal Circuit blog and beyond. But not all litigation involving Apple involves Samsung. So here's a look at some of the recent Apple lawsuits at the Federal Circuit that you might have overlooked.

When it comes to patent appeals between computer component manufacturers, courts can often wow those who are tech savvy with the court's own tech know-how. The recently decided case of Visual Memory v. Nvidia for patent infringement due to a three-tiered memory hierarchy patent held by Visual Memory is a perfect example of just how technical a court can get, especially on appeal.

The primary issue in this patent battle appeal involved whether the Visual Memory patent for an improved computer memory system was valid or too abstract to be enforceable.

Although some litigation attorneys might claim that patent law may as well be Greek to them, when it comes to the rules governing discovery disputes in patent cases over Biosimilars, the attorneys for Amgen are learning a hard lesson: the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure apply as they would for any other case.

The case, Amgen v. Hospira, centers around Hospira attempting to patent a biosimilar to Amgen's EPOGEN, a drug that is used to increase the production of red blood cells in order to treat various medical conditions. Amgen filed an infringement action after Hospira allegedly failed to comply with the requirements under the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act, which allows biosimilars to be approved, but only if they've complied with several regulations designed to safeguard the public, and the original inventor of the product that the biosimilar is based upon.