Petitions / Supreme Court Activity

Here is an update on recent activity at the Supreme Court in cases decided by the Federal Circuit. As for merits cases, highlights include an oral argument and a slew of amicus briefs, respectively, in two cases. As for petitions, only one new petition was filed, and just a handful of response and reply briefs were filed. The Supreme Court, however, denied petitions in a large number of cases, including most notably in Athena, Hikma, and HP, as we previously discussed. Here are the details.

Activity in Granted Cases

The Supreme Court heard oral argument on Tuesday in in Romag Fasteners, Inc. v. Fossil, Inc. We will post our argument recap later this week.

In Google LLC v. Oracle America, Inc., Google submitted its opening merits brief. In it, Google argued that “Oracle has no interest protected by copyright in the declarations of the Java SE libraries” because of copyright law’s merger doctrine. Google also argued that, “[e]ven if the Court concludes that Oracle asserts an interest protected by copyright, there is no basis to overturn the jury’s determination—based on the testimony of dozens of witnesses and hundreds of exhibits—that Google’s reuse of the declarations was fair use.”

Many amicus briefs were submitted to the Court either supporting Google, its arguments, or neither party:

Activity in Petition Cases

New Petitions

One new petition was filed. In Maxell, Ltd. v. Fandango Media, LLC, the petitioner asked the Court to review “whether the claims at issue in Maxell’s patents are patent-eligible under 35 U.S.C. 101, as interpreted in Alice Corp v. CLS Bank International.”

New Responses

In Dobyns v. United States, the government filed a brief in opposition arguing that while the petition contends that “the court of appeals erred in determining that ATF did not breach the covenant of good faith and fair dealing implicit in the parties’ 2007 settlement agreement,” in fact “[t]he court of appeals’ decision is correct and does not conflict with any decision of this Court, the Federal Circuit, or any other court of appeals.” As a result, the government maintains that “[f]urther review is unwarranted.”

In Chrimer Systems, Inc. v. Juniper Networks, Inc., Ruckus Wireless, Inc. and Netgear, Inc. waived their right to respond to the petition, as did Juniper Networks, Inc.

Similarly, in Smith v. Wilkie, the government waived its right to respond to the petition.

New Reply Briefs

In Cisco Systems, Inc. v. SRI International, Inc., SRI International submitted a brief in opposition stating that “[t]he most obvious reason to deny the petition is that this case does not even present the question raised by petitioner,” which relates to patent eligibility. SRI also argues that “there is no intra-circuit split,” “the decision below faithfully and correctly applies this Court’s settled precedents to the particular claims at issue,” and “[t]he petition suffers from glaring vehicle defects as well.”

In Trading Technologies International, Inc. v. IBG LLC, Trading Technologies International, Inc. filed its reply arguing that both the first and second questions presented warrant review because the Court’s decision “arbitrarily denies patent protection to software tools like user interfaces that provide valuable functionality and benefits to users no different than physical-realm tools, undermining the Patent Act’s central purpose of fostering innovation.” Trading Technologies also asks the court to “take the opportunity to reconsider the viability of the ‘abstract idea’ exception to patent eligibility, which the government concedes . . . ‘has no grounding in Section 101’s text.'”

In another case between the same parties, Trading Technologies International, Inc. v. IBG LLC, Trading Technologies filed a near-mirror image brief making the same arguments. In this brief, it explained that “[t]he petition in . . . No. 19-522 . . . presents the same questions for review as this one and was filed separately only because of the pendency of petitions for rehearing.” Trading Technologies, moreover, argued in this brief that “this case presents a superior vehicle for answering those questions, based on the clarity of the reasoning of the decision below.”

In ChargePoint, Inc. v. SemaConnect, Inc., the petitioner filed its reply brief stating that “the test for patentability under Section 101 is a shambles and needs correction.”

New Amicus Briefs

There were no amicus briefs filed this week.

New Grants and Denials

While the Supreme Court did not grant review in any cases decided by the Federal Circuit, it did deny petitions in a large number of cases. Here is a list: