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August 2013 Archives

'Sensitive' Loophole Leaves Thousands of Fed. Workers Unprotected

The government just got a blank check for managing employees with reduced oversight, thanks to the Federal Circuit, and critics are already the worst.

When a federal employee has a grievance, often, their remedy is to appeal the issue to the Merit Systems Protection Board. Common appeals include whistleblower claims and furlough complaints, which are extremely popular in the time of sequestration.

Now, after the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals extended the Supreme Court's Egan v. Navy decision from 1988, holding that the MSPB could not review security clearance determinations, the door to the MSPB will now be closed for a larger group of workers: "noncritical sensitive" positions.

After what seems like the 200th round in the Apple v. Samsung litigation, we find ourselves asking: Why can't we all just get along? Well, that day might have actually come.

Both Apple and Samsung appealed the District Court for the Northern District of California's orders refusing to seal confidential documents submitted in support of pre- and post-trial motions. The Federal Circuit Court of appeals agreed with their positions, and reversed and remanded the district court's decision.

Fed. Cir. Fumbles Supreme Court's Original Jurisdiction

This case should've been simple. The University of Utah sues the University of Massachusetts in a patent inventorship dispute. 28 U.S.C. § 1251(a) quite clearly states, "The Supreme Court shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction of all controversies between two or more States."

Utah versus Massachusetts. Why is this a question?

And yet, after some party-swapping, the Federal Circuit allowed the case to proceed in the District Court, over the dissent of Judge Moore. How?

Normally not a hotbed of dramatic happenings, the Federal Circuit has been on fire lately. Two recent cases are sure to keep the Federal Circuit anything but quiet.

Starr International Company v. U.S.

Maurice "Hank" Greenberg was AIG's leader for four decades, and his company Starr International Co., was AIG's largest shareholder with a 12% stake, reports Reuters. Claiming the government short-changed AIG shareholders in the 2008 government bailout, Starr sought to depose Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

No Funny Faces: Fed. Circuit's Rules of Decorum

I opened my inbox last week to find this tweet, forwarded to me by a friend:

The Federal Circuit's website states: "Inappropriate facial gestures or exaggerated gesticulating is forbidden." Drat.

-- Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) August 8, 2013

Curiosity piqued, I took to the Federal Circuit's website to determine the extent of this ban on facial gestures. Surely, the court is only regulating the conduct of the attorneys arguing before the court, and doing so solely in the interests of justice, right?

Federal Circuit Welcomes New Judge: Raymond Chen

Earlier this month, Raymond Chen was confirmed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Nominated by the Obama administration in February, Chen, in a unanimous 97-0 confirmation, is also the first Asian American to serve on the Federal Circuit in more than 25 years.

Born and raised in Orange County, California, Chen graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a B.S. in electrical engineering. He then went on to attend New York University School of Law.

After finishing law school, Chen worked as an intellectual property litigator for a firm in Southern California. He then served as a Technical Assistant for the Federal Circuit. Afterwards, he joined the United States Patent and Trademark Office ("PTO"), where he was promoted to Solicitor in 2008.

It's been an exciting week for Apple and the International Trade Commission ("ITC"). Last week, the ITC and the Obama administration dealt a blow to Samsung when it vetoed a ban on older Apple products, paving the way for imports of older devices, reports Fast Company.

And in what seems like Bizarro World 2.0, at the end of this week, Apple and Samsung will meet again in the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, as Apple appeals a district court's ruling blocking Apple's request for an injunction against the import of older Samsung devices, namely tablets and smart phones, reports the San Jose Mercury News.

That's not all.