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July 2014 Archives

VA Doesn't Always Have to Get Bids From Veteran-Owned Businesses

In an effort to promote ownership of small businesses by veterans, Congress established a goal of awarding a certain percentage of Veterans Administration contracts to small businesses owned by both veterans and service-disabled veterans. In 2012, the VA chose to use an existing GSA contractor to install emergency notification services in several VA medical centers rather than put out bids for the work to veteran-owned businesses.

Kingdomware, a small business owned by a veteran, filed a complaint, claiming that the VA was required to solicit bids from veteran-owned small businesses before resorting to using an existing GSA contractor. The Court of Federal Claims found for the VA, and Kingdomware appealed.

In Kingdomware v. United States, the Federal Circuit Court affirmed the decision, 2-1.

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Government's Merit Brief Filed in MacLean TSA Whistleblower Case

"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.