Here is a report on recent news and commentary related to the Federal Circuit and its cases. Today’s report highlights an article discussing the Federal Circuit’s modification to its April oral argument schedule given the coronavirus pandemic, a note on the denial of a request by the Electronic Frontier Fountain for the Federal Circuit to broadcast an upcoming hearing, and a press release announcing a Supreme Court petition challenging the Federal Circuit’s affirmation of a Court of Claims decision rejecting a takings challenge to the re-allocation of irrigation water rights by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
Ryan Davis filed an article with Law360 discussing the Federal Circuit’s recent announcement that it would modify the oral argument schedule for April given the coronavirus pandemic. Davis reports that, “[b]y the close of business Thursday, the court had issued orders addressing the new plan in 30 patent cases, scheduling telephone arguments in 17 of them and canceling arguments completely in 13 others.” Davis presents various attorneys’ views of the challenges of presenting oral argument by conference call, noting that “[a]n appellate argument by phone, before a panel of three judges, is . . . not something most patent attorneys have experience with.” (We previously reported on the court’s announcement.)
The Electronic Frontier Foundation noted that the Federal Circuit “denied EFF’s request to allow the public to watch [an upcoming] proceeding by video.” EFF had “urged the court . . . to make public a video of the hearing” in which a patent-holding company named Uniloc will “have to explain for the first time in open court why it should be allowed to seal from public view documents in the case explaining how it operates.” (We previously reported on EFF’s request.)
A local Oregon news organization, Klamath Falls News, published a press release by the Klamath Water Users Association highlighting a petition “ask[ing] the United States Supreme Court to review decisions denying . . . claims that . . . water rights were illegally taken in 2001 under the Endangered Species Act.” The press release notes that “[t]he case, titled Baley v. United States, was filed 19 years ago when the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation re-allocated irrigation water to threatened and endangered species.” According to the Association, the Court of Federal Claims held that “water users did not have the right to the water under the western prior appropriation doctrine” and, “[l]ast fall, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the ruling.”