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


BigLaw Firm Offers Six-Figure Bonus to Former Federal Circuit Clerks

Fish & Richardson is like a flying fish.

One year, the law firm is flying with more than 400 lawyers. The next year it's down in the low 300s.

Now the lawyers are trying to make a big leap again. And this time they're recruiting with some serious bait -- a six-figure bonus.

For Google fans and investors, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals recent panel decision may not be the easiest read. Basically, Oracle's lawsuit against Google stemming from the unlicensed use of Java APIs was not just resurrected from the dead by the appellate panel, the jury's verdict for Google was turned into a win for Oracle.

The panel remanded the case back to the trial court, but only to conduct a trial on damages. It is expected that Oracle will seek approximately $9 billion for the extensive unlicensed use of the Java APIs. Notably, that's a rather large drop in the Alphabet Inc./Google bucket; a drop that represents a little less than 10 percent of the giant's annual revenue.

Patent Infringement Suit Revived Against Google

Everybody knows how to 'google,' but not everybody knows a 'googol.'

That happens sometimes when a word becomes so popular that another gets lost in usage. "Google," the company, has also eclipsed another company with its cloud messaging.

SimpleAir owns a '433 patent relating to push notification technology, which allows messages to pop up on devices without opening a separate application. SimpleAir won an appeal against Google for infringement of related patents, but is still under the long shadow of Google's popular cloud.

The Elbit Systems v. Thales Visionix appeal came down to a battle of experts, and it was the more supported expert's testimony that carried the day for Thales Visionix.

Thales Visionix is a French defense company that has vigorously defended their motion tracking patent. It has accused the U.S. Government as well as Elbit Systems of infringing on their IP. In response, Elbit brought an inter parties review action, which has not been successful.

Decisions in patent appeals often involve long winded explanations that delve deep into technical specifications, discuss the various merits of the competing interests, and provide detailed exposition of how the ultimate decision was reached. However, sometimes, on appeal, all the circuit court really needs to say is "no error, judgment affirmed."

In the most recent of Google's patent appeals on the Federal Circuit Court of Appeal's docket, the court rejected the search giant's contention that a patent held by Network-1 was actually unpatentable. Luckily for Google, the appellate court provided a little less than a page worth of explanation.

When it comes big beauty, there might not be any player bigger than L'Oreal. But after the recent Federal Circuit Court of Appeals decision against the goliath in favor of Olaplex, a new entrant into the hair product market, it could be poised to fell the giant (at least in the hair "bond-builders" market).

Olaplex created and patented a new product designed to enhance the hair coloring process. According to Olaplex, other manufacturers of hair products have tried to categorize their product as a "bond-builder," but as company founder and CEO Dean Christal claims, Olaplex is in a category all on its own and "could change the world by making women more confident with amazing damage free hair during and after chemical services."

In what is shaping up to be one of the most important software copyright cases of 2018, the Bikram Yoga case, decided by the Ninth Circuit in 2015, may prove to be pivotal in the battle between Cisco and Arista.

The fight between Cisco and Arista is over code that Cisco alleges to have created and thus believes deserves copyright protection. However, Arista and several amici contend that the sections of code Cisco seeks to protect are not creative or unique enough to merit copyright protection. A jury also ruled against Cisco on the same issue. Interestingly, how Bikram Yoga fits into this all is a little less curious than it all sounds.

Some cases defy expectations. In Re: Erik Brunetti is exactly one of those cases. Brunetti sought to register his clothing brand's trademark with the US PTO. However, his trademark application was rejected due to section 2(a)'s prohibition on immoral and offensive trademarks. After all, his brand name is FUCT.

Surprisingly though, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that section 2(a) was unconstitutional as an impermissible First Amendment restriction. It held that the restriction on immoral or offensive marks was a content based restriction that could not pass strict scrutiny. And if that's not surprising enough, the opinion is filled with a fascinating discussion of trademark morality.

Below, you can read some of the highlights from the case.

When it comes to the so-called patent dance, state law cannot be invoked to force a party to be a dance partner. At least, that's how the recent Circuit Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit decision in Amgen v. Sandoz is being interpreted.

If that case name sounds familiar, that's because these two have been battling it out for some time and have been making headlines in pharma and patent circles. Most notably, the pair of litigants recently had SCOTUS opine on their case. However, the High Court merely struck down the injunction granted by the district court and remanded the matter as to the state law claims of unfair competition stemming from Sandoz's alleged strategic refusal to engage in the "patent dance."

Hulu Wins for Streaming Services

A federal appeals court pressed rewind for Hulu and other streaming companies, which means the shows will go on.

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board had ruled against the companies last year over a technology for users to transfer streaming sessions from one device to another. The board found in favor of a research firm that had sued the companies for infringing on its patent to the technology.

But in CRFD Research, Inc. v. Matal, the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals reversed.