Here is an update on recent en banc activity at the Federal Circuit in patent cases. Highlights include the court inviting a response to a petition in one case and, while denying rehearing en banc in another, granting panel rehearing in that case for a limited yet notable purpose.
The were no new petitions for rehearing en banc filed in the Federal Circuit last week.
The Federal Circuit invited a response from United Technologies Corp. to the petition for rehearing en banc in General Electric Company v. United Technologies Corp.
The Federal Circuit did not grant any en banc petitions last week.
The Federal Circuit denied petitions for rehearing en banc in the following cases:
Note that in Amgen Inc. v. Sandoz Inc., while the en banc court denied the petition for rehearing en banc, the panel granted the petition for panel rehearing. It did so, however, only to delete a portion of its earlier opinion indicating that the doctrine of equivalents “applies only in exceptional cases.”
This language was reminiscent of similar language previously used by the Federal Circuit in the context of another patent law doctrine. In eBay Inc. v. MercExchange, L.L.C., the Supreme Court rejected the Federal Circuit’s “general rule that courts will issue permanent injunctions against patent infringement absent exceptional circumstances.” The Supreme Court criticized the Federal Circuit for adopting this “categorical” approach to an equitable doctrine.
Perhaps the panel, with eBay in mind, sought to distance itself from any similar categorial approach to the likewise equitable doctrine of equivalents.