This morning, the Federal Circuit issued one nonprecedential opinion in a patent case. Here is the introduction to the opinion.
Bennett Reg. Guards, Inc. v. Atlanta Gas Light Co. (Nonprecedential)
Bennett Regulator Guards, Inc. appeals the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s final written decision holding all claims of U.S. Patent No. 5,810,029 unpatentable on anticipation and obviousness grounds, along with the Board’s subsequent order sanctioning petitioner Atlanta Gas Light Company. Bennett specifically challenges the Board’s claim constructions, its compliance with the Administrative Procedure Act, and the adequacy of its sanctions award. Atlanta Gas cross-appeals, seeking to overturn the sanctions award.
This case returns to us following the Supreme Court’s decision in Thryv, Inc. v. Click-To-Call Technologies, LP, 140 S. Ct. 1367 (2020). Our original decision in this case vacated the Board’s final written decision without reaching the merits of the Board’s unpatentability determinations because we concluded that “the Board exceeded its authority and contravened § 315(b)’s time bar when it instituted Atlanta Gas’s petition.” Bennett Reg. Guards, Inc. v. Atlanta Gas Light Co., 905 F.3d 1311, 1313 (Fed. Cir. 2018). The Supreme Court vacated our original decision and remanded for further consideration in light of Thryv. Atlanta Gas Light Co. v. Bennett Reg. Guards, Inc., No. 18-999, 2020 WL 1978924 (U.S. Apr. 27, 2020).
Because Thryv precludes our review of the Board’s “application of § 315(b)’s time limit,” 140 S. Ct. at 1370, we now reach Bennett’s challenge to the merits of the Board’s final written decision. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the Board’s determination that claims 1–8 of the ’029 patent are unpatentable for anticipation and obviousness. And, as in our original decision, we decline to review the Board’s nonfinal sanctions order and instead remand to the Board to quantify its sanctions award.