This morning the Federal Circuit issued three precedential opinions in a patent case, a Vaccine Act case, and a Merit Systems Protection Board case. The court also issued three nonprecedential opinions in a patent case, a Merit Systems Protection Board case, and a case dismissed by the Court of Federal Claims. The court also issued two nonprecedential Rule 36 judgments. Here are the introductions to the opinions and a list of the Rule 36 judgments.

Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson v. TCL Corp. (Precedential)

Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson (“Ericsson”) is the owner of United States Patent No. 6,029,052 (“the ’052 patent”). TCL Corporation, TCL Communication Technology Holdings, Ltd., TCT Mobile Limited, TCT Mobile Inc., and TCT Mobile (US), Inc., (collectively “TCL”) filed two petitions for inter partes review (“IPR”) of claims 13, 15, 16, and 18 of the ’052 patent. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB” or “Board”) instituted review, consolidated the petitions, and ruled that all of the challenged claims are unpatentable on the ground of obviousness.

The ’052 patent describes and claims a “direct conversion receiver” for wireless communication systems that may receive signals from systems that operate at different frequency bands. The primary issue on appeal is whether a specific foreign publication is an available reference against the ’052 patent. We affirm the Board’s decision that the specified publication is an available reference, and based on this publication in combination with other prior art we affirm the Board’s decision of invalidity of the challenged claim.

Boatman v. HHS (Precedential)

This case, brought under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, 42 U.S.C. §§ 300aa-1 to -34, as amended (the “Vaccine Act”), presents the question of whether Petitioners Chase Boatmon and Maurina Cupid have proven by a preponderance of the evidence that the vaccinations their son, J.B., received caused or substantially contributed to his death from sudden infant death syndrome (“SIDS”). The Special Master found that Petitioners had met their burden and were entitled to compensation. Boatmon v. Sec’y of Health & Human Servs., No. 13-611V, 2017 WL 3432329 (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. July 10, 2017) (“Special Master Decision”). The United States Court of Federal Claims reversed the Special Master’s finding. Boatmon v. Sec’y of Health & Human Servs., 138 Fed. Cl. 566 (2018). While we disagree with most of the Court of Federal Claims’ rationale, for the reasons explained below, we affirm its judgment.

WALLACH, Circuit Judge, joining and concurring.

I join with the majority opinion. I write in concurrence to respond to Judge Newman’s dissent.

Newman, Circuit Judge, dissenting.

I respectfully dissent, for the court’s ruling conflicts with the text and the purpose of the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act. 

* * *

It is the obligation of the courts to assure that the statutory purpose is implemented. Although vaccine injury is sparse, the purpose of the Vaccine Act is to provide compensation in the event of injury that is reasonably attributable to vaccine. The record shows, on undisputed facts that J.B.’s injury and death more-likely-than-not were reasonably attributable to vaccine. My colleagues’ ruling ignores the evidence, negates the statutory purpose, and contravenes the policy of supporting public health and well-being. I respectfully dissent.

McGuffin v. SSA (Precedential)

Clarence McGuffin appeals from a determination of the Merit Systems Protection Board that the Social Security Administration did not violate the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act when it terminated Mr. McGuffin’s employment. Because we conclude that substantial evidence does not support the Board’s findings, we reverse the decision of the Board and remand for further proceedings.

Bedgear, LLC v. Fredman Bros. Furniture Co. (Nonprecedential)

In its opening brief, Bedgear, LLC argues that the three final written decisions at issue in this appeal exceed the scope of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s authority and violate the Constitution’s Appointments Clause. See Appellant’s Br. 66 (citing U.S. Const. art. II, § 2, cl. 2). This court recently decided this issue in Arthrex, Inc. v. Smith & Nephew, Inc., No. 18-2140 (Fed. Cir. Oct. 31, 2019). Accordingly, the Board’s decisions in Nos. IPR2017-00350, IPR2017-00351, and IPR2017-00352 are vacated and the case is remanded to the Board for proceedings consistent with this court’s decision in Arthrex.

DYK, Circuit Judge, with whom Circuit Judge NEWMAN joins, concurring in the judgment.

I agree that the panel here is bound to follow Arthrex, Inc. v. Smith & Nephew, Inc., No. 2018-2140, 2019 WL 5616010 (Fed. Cir. Oct. 31, 2019)But, even putting to one side the question of whether Administrative Patent Judges (“APJs”) would have been improperly appointed (if not subject to at will removal), it seems to me that the remedy aspect of Arthrex (requiring a new hearing before a new panel) is not required by Lucia v. S.E.C., 138 S. Ct. 2044 (2018), imposes large and unnecessary burdens on the system of inter partes review, requiring potentially hundreds of new proceedings, and involves unconstitutional prospective decision-making.

Ferguson v. USPS (Nonprecedential)

Pro se appellant Robert Ferguson, Jr. appeals the Merit Systems Protection Board’s final decision affirming his removal from the United States Postal Service based on a charge of inappropriate conduct. Because we find substantial evidence supports the Board’s final decision, we affirm.

Bonilla-Mead v. United States (Nonprecedential)

Debra Bonilla-Mead appeals the February 19, 2019 decision of the United States Court of Federal Claims in Bonilla-Mead v. United States, No. 18-1904C. In that decision, the Court of Federal Claims dismissed Ms. Bonilla-Mead’s action because she failed to pay the requisite filing fee. Suppl. App. 2–3. We affirm.

Rule 36 Judgments