This morning the Federal Circuit issued four opinions, two precedential and two nonprecedential. The precedential opinions came in a veterans case and a vaccine case, while the nonprecedential opinions came in an employment case and a patent case. Here are the introductions.

Shealey v. Wilkie (Precedential)

Meghan Gentile and Harold Hoffman (“intervenors”) appeal a decision from the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (“Veterans Court”) dismissing their claim for attorney’s fees and other expenses (hereinafter “attorney’s fees”) under the Equal Access to Justice Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2412(d) (“EAJA”). We conclude that the intervenors lack standing to pursue a claim for attorney’s fees and affirm.

Kreizenbeck v. Secretary of Health and Human Services (Precedential)

Bret and Sandra Kreizenbeck appeal a decision of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims that affirmed a special master’s decision denying the Kreizenbecks compensation under the National Vaccine Injury Act. On appeal, the Kreizenbecks raise a single procedural issue: whether the special master abused his discretion by resolving their case through a ruling on the record, without conducting an evidentiary hearing and without the Kreizenbecks’ consent. Because we find no abuse of discretion, we affirm.

Holland v. Merit Systems Protection Board (Nonprecedential)

Cameron Holland worked as a Special Agent in the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), a part of the United States Department of Justice, under an excepted-service appointment. Just over a year into his employment, the DEA terminated Mr. Holland from his position, without having given him notice of the proposed basis of termination or a pre-decision opportunity to provide the deciding official a response. Mr. Holland appealed to the Merit Systems Protection Board, seeking review of the termination. But the Board dismissed the appeal, concluding that the request for review is not within any grant of jurisdiction to the Board. We agree that the Board lacks jurisdiction, and we therefore affirm, leaving the termination unreviewed.

Google LLC v. Koninklijke Philips N.V. (Nonprecedential)

Koninklijke Philips N.V. owns U.S. Patent No. RE44,913, which concerns device keypads that provide both primary and secondary characters associated with particular keys. After Philips sued Acer Inc. and other companies, alleging infringement based on devices that use Google operating systems, Google Inc. petitioned the Patent and Trademark Office, naming Acer and others as real parties in interest, to institute an inter partes review of claims 1 and 3–16 of the ’913 patent for obviousness under 35 U.S.C. § 103. The PTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board, acting on behalf of the PTO’s Director, see 37 C.F.R. §§ 42.4, 42.108, instituted the requested review. In September 2018, the Board issued a final written decision concluding that Google had failed to prove obviousness. Acer Inc. v. Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V., No. IPR2017- 00386, 2018 WL 4657646 (P.T.A.B. Sept. 26, 2018).

Google appeals. Philips’s claimed invention differs in at most one way from the specific method (and related device) described in the principal prior-art reference featured in Google’s petition. With that prior-art method, primary and secondary characters are associated with a given key; the secondary characters are presented to a user when the key is held for an extended time; and after the user chooses a secondary character for entry, that character is substituted for the primary character on the key. The last step is the only difference from Philips’s claimed invention, in which the default primary character is retained on the key after secondary-character selection. That return-to-default option is what the prior-art reference itself compares its own character-substitution option to when touting its solution as enhancing efficiency. We conclude, on the record of this case, that the Philips invention would have been obvious in light of the prior art. We therefore reverse the Board’s decision.