This morning, the Federal Circuit issued a precedential opinion in a patent case over a dissent from Judge Dyk, and also issued a nonprecedential opinion in a “Rails-to-Trails” takings case. Here are the introductions to the opinions.

SynQor, Inc. v. Vicor Corp. (Precedential)

SynQor, Inc. appeals the inter partes reexamination decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board holding unpatentable as obvious original claims 1–19, 28, and 31 of SynQor’s patent, U.S. Patent No. 7,072,190, as well as newly presented claims 34–38, which were proposed during the reexamination proceeding. Because decisions the Board made in previous reexamination proceedings preclude finding claims 1–19, 28, and 31 obvious based on the grounds relied upon by the Board, we vacate the Board’s decision as to those claims. And because the expiration of the ’190 patent renders any appeal of the Board’s decision regarding claims 34–38 moot, we also vacate the Board’s decision as to those claims.

Dyk, Circuit Judge, dissenting.

The majority holds that collateral estoppel (or issue preclusion) applies to inter partes reexamination proceedings at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The majority’s holding is incorrect because these proceedings are examinational (or inquisitorial) rather than adjudicatory, do not include court-like adjudicatory procedures, and do not satisfy the requirements of B & B Hardware, Inc. v. Hargis Industries, Inc., 575 U.S. 138 (2015), for application of collateral estoppel. The majority’s decision conflicts with decisions of the Supreme Court and our sister circuits. I respectfully dissent.

Andrews v. United States (Nonprecedential)

This “Rails-to-Trails” case arises pursuant to the National Trails System Act (“Trails Act”), 16 U.S.C. § 1247(d). This is an appeal from the final judgment of the United States Court of Federal Claims (“Claims Court”) on Plaintiffs’ claim that the government has effected a taking of their property by precluding the reversion of an easement to Plaintiffs after rail service over the property at issue was terminated. The Claims Court granted summary judgment in favor of the government on the basis that Plaintiffs did not own any property interest which could be subject to a taking. Andrews v. United States, 147 Fed. Cl. 519 (2020). For the reasons set forth below, we affirm the Claims Court’s grant of summary judgment.