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

May 2014 Archives

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.

Chief Judge Randall R. Rader, of the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, has announced today that he is resigning his post as Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit. In a speech he gave at a Federal Circuit Bar Association program this morning, Judge Rader stated:

May 30, 2012 was my first day as Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit. May 30, 2014 will be my last. In a week, I will step aside as Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit, opening the position for the new Chief Judge Sharon Prost.

Why the sudden resignation?

The Federal Circuit, for the first time, had the opportunity to determine whether a proposed trademark was disparaging under section 2(a) of the Trademark Act.

After thorough analysis and review of the facts on the record, the Federal Circuit adopted a test, and found that the proposed trademark in issue was in fact, disparaging.

In the never-ending circle of litigation that Google, and other tech companies, are engaging in otherwise known as "Smartphone Wars," the Federal Circuit has dealt a blow to Google.

And, in one of the more interesting patent cases before the Federal Circuit, the court had to determine whether clones themselves, could be patented. It should be noted that the methods for cloning, which are patented, were not at issue in the case. Read on for details in both cases.

We can't get enough of fee shifting in patent cases. Just on the heels of the Court's decisions in Octane Fitness and Highmark, the Supreme Court granted cert in another case, also under Patent Act's Section 285, which allows a "court in exceptional cases may award reasonable attorney fees to the prevailing party."

In one fell swoop, the Supreme Court, in a summary disposition, granted cert., vacated the decision of the Federal Circuit, and remanded the case in Kobe Properties Sarl, et al., v. Checkpoint Systems, Inc. Read on for details.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court released two opinions, both authored by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, regarding attorney fees in patent cases, and the meaning of the Patent Act's Section 285 language that allows a "court in exceptional cases may award reasonable attorney fees to the prevailing party." The cases have been closely watched, as companies are forced to defend patent claims against patent trolls, and the issue has gained traction in the media.

Well, it seems like attorneys can breathe a collective sigh of relief as the Supreme Court has "fixed" the fee shifting issue in patent cases. Read on to see how.