Here is a report on recent news and commentary related to the Federal Circuit and its cases. Today’s report highlights the Federal Circuit’s decision to throw out a $100 million verdict in Ericsson Inc. v. TCL Communication Technology Holdings Ltd., another decision holding that attorneys’ fees may not be awarded where a case is dismissed without a court order, a blog post about the frequency individual Federal Circuit judges heard or canceled oral arguments this month, and a post highlighting the first telephonic oral arguments heard by the Federal Circuit this month.
Jan Wolfe reported for Reuters that, in Ericsson Inc. v. TCL Communication Technology Holdings Ltd., the Federal Circuit “threw out a $100 million patent infringement verdict the telecom equipment manufacturer Ericsson Inc had won against Chinese smartphone maker TCL Corp.” As explained by Wolfe, “TCL argued on appeal that the patent was invalid because it merely described a method of controlling access to resources,” and the court “sided with TCL.” Wolfe notes that Judge Newman dissented and “said that ‘TCL did not pursue any Section 101 aspect at the trial or in any post-trial proceeding,’ and for that reason had not preserved its ability to make a Section 101 defense on appeal.” (We previously commented on this decision.)
Perry Cooper filed an article with Bloomberg Law stating the Federal Circuit affirmed that “[a] gun-trigger manufacturer can’t recover attorneys’ fees in an infringement lawsuit even after convincing the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to invalidate the patent, because the owner dismissed the case without a court order.” In O.F. Mossberg & Sons, Inc. v. Timney Triggers, LLC, the Federal Circuit upheld a district court ruling denying attorneys’ fees because “a dismissal without a court order isn’t a judicial declaration changing the legal relationship between the parties.”
At PatentlyO, Dennis Crouch highlighted the number of oral arguments heard by Federal Circuit judges in its April sitting. According to Crouch, “Chief Judge Prost heard the highest percentage of oral arguments while Judges Lourie and Hughes were on panels that cancelled all of their oral arguments.” Crouch notes that “[o]ne interpretation is that Chief Judge Prost sees oral arguments as more important for her decisional process, while Judges Lourie and Hughes find less importance.”
Bill Vobach of 717 Madison Place provided his oral argument of the day, highlighting the telephonic oral arguments in Clarus Therapeutics, Inc. V. Lipocine, Inc. heard by the Federal Circuit earlier this month. Vobach notes that this “was the Federal Circuit’s first oral argument by telephone during the April 2020 session,” when the court canceled all in-person hearings due to the coronavirus pandemic.