This morning the Federal Circuit issued one precedential opinion in a patent case and one precedential opinion in a trademark case. Here are the introductions to the opinions.

Ericsson Inc. v. TCL Communication Technology Holdings Limited (Precedential)

Appellants TCL Communication Technology Holdings, Limited, TCT Mobile Limited, and TCT Mobile (US) Inc., (collectively, “TCL”) appeal the decision of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas denying summary judgment that U.S. Patent No. 7,149,510 (“the ’510 patent”) is ineligible for patenting under 35 U.S.C. § 101. TCL also appeals the denial of its motion for a new trial on damages and challenges the jury’s finding of willful infringement as not supported by substantial evidence. We reverse, hold that the ’510 patent claims ineligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101, and do not reach the issues of damages or willfulness.

NEWMAN, Circuit Judge, dissenting.

The court today sets aside the Federal Rules and sound practice for civil trials and appeals, and holds that the district court’s pre-trial denial of a motion for summary judgment based on 35 U.S.C. § 101 is the same as a final decision in favor of the non-movant. That is not the general rule, and it is not the rule of the Fifth Circuit, whose procedural law controls this trial and appeal.

Nonetheless, the panel majority treats the district court’s pre-trial denial of summary judgment as a final decision on the merits, ripe for appeal. And on appeal, the panel majority decides patent eligibility under Section 101, although there was no final judgment on this issue—and no record, no evidence, no witnesses, no expertise, no argument, and no district court decision.

The panel majority, now deciding patent eligibility under Section 101, finds facts and applies law without the benefit of district court trial. The majority ignores the pre-trial findings of the district court, rejects the estopped findings of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board in the related IPR proceeding, and discards the guidance of precedent, to hold the subject matter of claims 1 and 5 ineligible for patenting.

The majority announces new law and disrupts precedent. I respectfully dissent.

Stratus Networks, Inc. v. UBTA-UBET Communications Inc. (Precedential)

Stratus Networks, Inc., appeals from a Trademark Trial and Appeal Board decision that denied registration of Stratus’s trademark on grounds of a likelihood of confusion with a trademark registered to UBTA-UBET Communications, Inc. On appeal, Stratus challenges the Board’s likelihood of confusion determination. Because the Board’s determination is supported by substantial evidence and is not otherwise legally erroneous, we affirm.