This morning, the Federal Circuit issued two nonprecedential opinions in a patent case and a case appealed from the Merit Systems Protection Board. Here are the introductions to the opinions.
Snyders Heart Valve LLC v. St. Jude Medical, LLC (Nonprecedential)
In its opening brief, Snyders Heart Valve LLC (“Snyders”) argues that the final written decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”) at issue in this appeal violates the Constitution’s Appointments Clause because it was rendered by an unconstitutionally appointed panel of Administrative Patent Judges. Appellant’s Br. 14. We decided this issue in Arthrex, Inc. v. Smith & Nephew, Inc., 941 F.3d 1320 (Fed. Cir. 2019). Under Arthrex, which post-dated the Board’s final written decision in this case, Snyders is entitled to vacatur and remand for a hearing before a properly appointed Board.
The decision of the Board is thus vacated and remanded for proceedings consistent with our decision in Arthrex.
Gibson v. Office of Personal Management (Nonprecedential)
Rita Gibson sought survivor-annuity benefits, asserting that she was a “widow” of a retired federal employee. 5 U.S.C. § 8341(b)(1). To qualify as a “widow,” she had to have been married to her husband “for at least 9 months immediately before his death.” Id. § 8341(a)(1). Her marriage lasted from May 21, 2018, to the date of her husband’s death, February 15, 2019—a total of 270 days, but six days shy of the 9-month “anniversary.” The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) concluded that she had not been married for at least 9 months before February 15, 2019, and denied the benefits claims. The Merit Systems Protection Board affirmed. We now affirm the Board’s decision.