Court Week

This week the Federal Circuit will convene eleven panels to consider about 51 cases. This month, as in the past several months, the court will hear all of its oral arguments telephonically given the coronavirus pandemic. The court will continue to hear fewer oral arguments than normal, with only about 28 cases being argued this month. Of the argued cases, two attracted amicus briefs, one a takings case and one a patent case. Here’s what you need to know about those cases.

Albright v. United States

As discussed in our argument preview, in this consolidated case owners of land in Oregon assert that the United States Surface Transportation Board violated the Takings Clause by converting a railway easement to a recreational trail. As explained by the government, however, the Court of Federal Claims “determined that the [relevant] deeds conveyed fee simple title from Plaintiffs’ predecessors-in-interest to the railroads, such that Plaintiffs have no compensable property interest on which to base takings claims.”

The National Association of Reversionary Property Owners filed an amicus brief in support of the appellants. In it, NARPO contends that the CFC “incorrectly applied Oregon law when it held that the railroad was granted title to the fee estate.” 

Three attorneys will argue for the appellant land owners:

Anna T. Katselas will argue for the government.

This argument will take place on Tuesday, September 1, 2020, 10:00 A.M.

Amarin Pharma, Inc. v. Hikma Pharmaceuticals USA

As discussed in our argument preview, in this case, Amarin, a patent owner, asks the Federal Circuit to reverse a district court’s judgment of obviousness based on alleged erroneous use of hindsight. In particular, Amarin argues the real error committed by the district court is “that, substantively, [the court] found obviousness based on the prima facie case alone and then required Amarin to ‘save’ the claims through the objective indicia.” Therefore, Amarin alleges, the district court “fell victim to hindsight” by not “apply[ing] each of the Graham factors, including the common sense objective indicia, before declaring an invention obvious.”

Aimed Alliance filed an amicus brief in support of Amarin. In it, Aimed Alliance reiterates that the “district court adopted an improper burden-shifting framework.” In so doing, Aimed Alliance explains, the court “first concluded that a prima facie case of obviousness existed and then shifted both the burden of production and persuasion to Amarin to show that secondary considerations militate against that prima facie showing.”

BIO filed its own amicus brief in support of neither party. In it, BIO contends that because “two dueling frameworks for evaluating obviousness . . . are not wholly consistent, there is a need for clarity in the law.” BIO describes the dueling frameworks as a “totality framework” and a “prima facie framework.”

Jonathan E. Singer will argue for Amarin.

Charles B. Klein will argue for Hikma Pharmaceuticals USA and Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, the defendants-appellees.

This argument will take place on Wednesday, September 2, 2020 at 10:00 A.M.