Here is a report on recent news and commentary related to the Federal Circuit and its cases. Today’s report highlights a New York Times article on the Supreme Court’s grant of certiorari in Google LLC v. Oracle America, Inc., a Bloomberg News article on a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing to discuss the Arthrex ruling, and an IPWatchdog post discussing Chestnut Hill’s recent petition for certiorari in Chestnut Hill Sound Inc. v. Apple Inc.
Adam Liptak reported for the New York Times that “[t]he Supreme Court . . . agreed to decide whether Google should have to pay Oracle billions of dollars in a long-running copyright infringement lawsuit over software used to run many of the world’s smartphones.” The case, Google LLC v. Oracle America, Inc., “concerns Google’s reliance on aspects of Java, an open-source software language, in the Android operating system.” Liptak noted that Oracle argued “using parts of [Java] without permission amounted to copyright infringement” and that “Google responded that free access to the software interfaces in question were crucial to the innovation economy.” According to Liptak, Google, “[i]n a brief urging the Supreme Court to hear its appeal . . . called the dispute ‘the copyright case of the decade.'” (We previously reported on the Supreme Court’s grant of certiorari in this case.)
At Bloomberg News, Malathi Nayak commented that the House Judiciary’s “Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet subcommittee is planning a Nov. 19 hearing to discuss how the ruling in Arthrex v. Smith & Nephew affects litigants and attorneys filing challenges at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board.” According to Nayak, “[t]he hearing is likely to spotlight how the court’s Oct. 31 decision impacts individual patent challenges.” According to Nayak, U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson said he is “concerned that the Arthrex court’s remedy of removing civil service protections for administrative patent judges means that there may not be enough transparency into when political pressure may have affected a case, to say nothing of being unfair to the civil servants who signed up for a different position than they now have.”
IPWatchdog highlighted Chestnut Hill Sound, Inc.’s petition for certiorari in Chestnut Hill Sound Inc. v. Apple Inc. asking the “Supreme Court to consider whether the Federal Circuit’s disparate practice with respect to issuing Rule 36 decisions for losing patent owner-appellants versus losing petitioner-appellants is constitutional.” The IPWatchdog article noted that “Chestnut Hill’s petition cites statistics on the number of Rule 36 decisions being issued” and that “[a] narrower survey conducted by Chestnut Hill between January 2019 and September 2019 ‘found that on a patent by patent analysis of appeals from the PTAB . . . about 90% of all patents which were disposed of through Rule 36 were from appeals by Patent Owner.'” According to IPWatchdog, Chestnut Hill believes “[t]he situation raises concerns of equal protection and due process.” (We recently reported on Chestnut Hill’s petition for certiorari.)