This morning the Federal Circuit issued two precedential opinions in a government contracts case and an international trade case. The court also issued four nonprecedential opinions: one dismissing a case for lack of jurisdiction and three in patent cases. Additionally, the court issued two Rule 36 judgments. Here are the introductions to the opinions and a list of the Rule 36 judgments.
Taylor Energy Company LLC v. United States (Precedential)
Under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (“OCSLA” or the “Act”), the Federal Government regulates oil and gas operations on the Outer Continental Shelf (“OCS”). 43 U.S.C. § 1301. “[A]ll law on the OCS is federal law, administered by federal officials.” Parker Drilling Mgmt. Servs., Ltd. v. Newton, 139 S. Ct. 1881, 1886 (2019). The Act grants the federal government complete “jurisdiction, control, and power of disposition” over the OCS, while states have no “interest in or jurisdiction” over it. And, although the Act deems an adjacent state’s laws to be federal law on the OCS to the extent they are “applicable and not inconsistent” with other federal laws and regulations, state law cannot be adopted as surrogate federal law if federal law addresses the relevant issue. Parker Drilling, 139 S. Ct. at 1889 (citing 43 U.S.C. § 1333(a)(2)(A)).
The Court of Federal Claims recognized this relationship in the underlying proceedings. It dismissed Taylor’s state law breach of contract claims because, inter alia, the disputed “contractual” requirements addressed in the agreement at issue were already governed by OCSLA regulations. Citing Rodrigue v. Aetna Casualty & Surety, 395 U.S. 352 (1969), the Claims Court explained that state law cannot undercut a lessee’s regulatory obligations on the OCS. Only two months later, the Supreme Court affirmed the precedent upon which the Claims Court relied in Parker Drilling Management Services, Ltd. v. Newton, holding that “OCSLA makes apparent that federal law is exclusive in its regulation of the OCS.” 139 S. Ct. at 1889 (quotations omitted). “[T]o the extent federal law applies to a particular issue, state law is inapplicable.” Id. Despite the Court’s clear holding in Parker Drilling, Taylor argues on appeal that the Claims Court’s Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal was erroneous. It contends that the agreement somehow transformed Taylor’s regulatory obligations into separate contractual obligations, and that a breach of these independent contractual obligations, under Louisiana contract law, may dissolve the security interest and decommissioning requirements mandated by OCSLA federal regulations. We disagree. The Court’s precedent, particularly Parker Drilling, establishes that, for OCSbased claims, state law cannot contravene federal law.
Despite Taylor’s attempt to disguise its regulatory obligations as contractual ones, the Court’s precedent applies in these circumstances. Accordingly, we reject Taylor’s efforts to circumvent its regulatory duty to address the 14-mile oil slick flowing from its leaking wells by purporting to assert claims under Louisiana state law.
Because OCSLA regulations address the arguments underlying Taylor’s contract claims, we conclude that Louisiana state law cannot be adopted as surrogate law and that Taylor’s complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. We therefore affirm.
Changzhou Trina Solar Energy v. United States (Precedential)
Appellees Changzhou Trina Solar Energy Co., Ltd., Trina Solar (Changzhou) Science & Technology Co., Ltd., and Trina Solar (U.S.), Inc. (collectively, “Trina”) filed suit against Appellee the United States (“Government”) in the U.S. Court of International Trade (“CIT”), challenging the U.S. Department of Commerce’s (“Commerce”) final results in the first administrative review of the antidumping (“antidumping” or “AD”) duty order covering certain crystalline silicon photovoltaic products from the People’s Republic of China (“PRC”). See Certain Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Products From the People’s Republic of China, 82 Fed. Reg. 32,170, 32,172 (Dep’t of Commerce July 12, 2017) (final results) (“Final Results”). Appellant SolarWorld Americas, Inc. (“SolarWorld”), a domestic producer of like products, participated as petitioner and defendant-intervenor. The CIT remanded “Commerce’s decision not to offset” Trina’s export price by a countervailed export subsidy as “contrary to law,” instructing Commerce “to recalculate Trina’s [export] price” with the offset, while sustaining, inter alia, “Commerce’s surrogate value selection for valuing . . . module glass.” Changzhou Trina Solar Energy Co. v. United States (Trina I), 359 F. Supp. 3d 1329, 1344 (Ct. Int’l Trade 2019). Commerce issued its remand redetermination, recalculating Trina’s export price in accordance with Trina I, under protest. J.A. 6764–65; see J.A. 6764–70 (Remand Redetermination). The CIT sustained Commerce’s Remand Redetermination. See Changzhou Trina Solar Energy Co. v. United States (Trina II), 393 F. Supp. 3d 1245, 1251 (Ct. Int’l Trade 2019); J.A. 16–17 (Judgment).
SolarWorld appeals. We have jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1295(a)(5). We affirm.
Brown v. Wilkie (Nonprecedential)
Sherwood Brown appeals the decision of the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (“Veterans Court”), finding that Mr. Brown had disclaimed any challenge to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (“Board”) decision from which he had appealed. We dismiss the appeal for lack of jurisdiction.
Golden v. Apple Inc. (Nonprecedential)
Larry Golden, pro se plaintiff-appellant, sued fifteen defendants in the District Court for the District of South Carolina, alleging patent infringement by the defendants’ development and manufacturing of communicating, monitoring, detecting, and controlling (“CMDC”) devices. Magistrate Judge Kevin F. McDonald issued an Order notifying Golden that his complaint was subject to summary dismissal for frivolousness. After Golden amended his complaint, the Magistrate Judge recommended dismissal without prejudice and without service of process because the case was duplicative of parallel proceedings Golden brought against the government in the Court of Federal Claims. Golden objected to the Magistrate Judge’s Report and Recommendation, arguing that the present action was not duplicative but was instead a separate action against nongovernmental entities for patent infringement. The district court reviewed the record and adopted the Magistrate Judge’s recommendation. Golden appeals. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.
Groove Digital, Inc. v. United Bank (Nonprecedential)
This is an appeal from a final judgment of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in a patent infringement case. Groove Digital, Inc. (“Groove Digital”) sued United Bank in the district court for infringement of claims 1–37 of U.S. Patent No. 9,454,762 (“the ’762 patent”). The court held a Markman hearing on April 16, 2019, during which it indicated it would issue a claim construction order that would rely upon the explanations provided in the parties’ briefing. J.A. 860. In due course, the court issued an order construing various claim terms. Order, Groove Digital, Inc. v. United Bank, 1:18-cv00966, Dkt. 94, 2019 WL 1869853, at *1 (E.D. Va. Apr. 24, 2019) (“Claim Construction Order”).
The parties subsequently filed a joint stipulation stating that, given the court’s constructions of certain claim terms in the court’s Claim Construction Order, Groove Digital could not prove infringement of the ’762 patent by United Bank. Stipulation and Proposed Summary Judgment, 1:18-cv-00966, Dkt. 96 (E.D. Va. May 2, 2019); J.A. 862–65. In view of the parties’ stipulation, the district court granted summary judgment of non-infringement of claims 1–37 of the ’762 patent to United Bank. Groove Digital timely appealed. We have jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1295(a)(1).
For the reasons stated below, we hold the district court’s claim constructions were not erroneous. We therefore affirm the court’s grant of summary judgment of noninfringement as to claims 1–37 of the ’762 patent and the resulting judgment in favor of United Bank.
Twitter, Inc. v. Vidstream LLC (Nonprecedential)
In two inter partes review proceedings, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board found that two patents owned by VidStream LLC are not unpatentable as obvious. Twitter argues on appeal that the Board’s determination is contrary to law because the Board failed to consider what a prior art reference suggested to a person of ordinary skill in the art at the time of the invention and because the Board ignored Twitter’s arguments and evidence contained in its reply brief. For the following reasons, we affirm.