This morning, the Federal Circuit issued four precedential opinions: two in patent cases, one in a Merit Systems Protection Board case, and one involving an appeal of a district court’s order transferring a case to the Court of Federal Claims. Also, late yesterday the Federal Circuit issued a nonprecedential order in a patent case granting a petition for a writ of mandamus and ordering a district court within 30 days to issue a ruling on a motion to transfer. Here are the introductions to the opinions and text from the order.

Uniloc 2017 LLC v. Facebook Inc. (Precedential)

Uniloc 2017 LLC (Uniloc) appeals from two consolidated inter partes review (IPR) decisions of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (Board) finding unpatentable claims 1– 8 and claims 9–12, 14–17, 25 and 26 of U.S. Patent No. 8,995,433 (’433 patent) as obvious.

Foremost at issue in this case is whether 35 U.S.C. § 314(d)’s “No Appeal” provision bars this court’s review of the Board’s conclusion that under § 315(e)(1) a petitioner is not estopped from maintaining the IPR proceeding before it. Under the circumstances of this case, we hold that § 314(d) does not preclude this court from reviewing the Board’s § 315(e)(1) estoppel decision. We further conclude that the Board did not err in finding that LG Electronics Inc. (LG) is not estopped from maintaining its IPR challenge to claims 1–8 and that Facebook and WhatsApp (collectively, Facebook) are not estopped from challenging claim 7. As to the Board’s obviousness conclusions, we see no error in the Board’s unpatentability findings. Accordingly, we affirm.

Brenner v. Department of Veterans Affairs (Precedential)

Petitioner, Lawrence Brenner, seeks review of a final decision of the Merit Systems Protection Board (“MSPB”) affirming the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (“VA”) decision to remove Mr. Brenner from his position as General Attorney, GS-14, with the VA’s Collections National Practice Group (“CNPG”) pursuant to 38 U.S.C. § 714, enacted as part of the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 (“the Act”), Pub. L. No. 115–41, 131 Stat. 862. See Brenner v. Dep’t of Veterans Affairs, No. NY-0714-19-0007-I-1, 2019 WL 1315751 (M.S.P.B. Mar. 18, 2019) (J.A. 7–54).

We have jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1295(a)(9). We vacate and remand.

Taylor Energy Company, LLC v. Department of the Interior (Precedential)

Appellants, United States Department of the Interior, et al. (collectively, “Interior”), appeal the decision of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, transferring this case to the United States Court of Federal Claims (“Claims Court”). Order, Taylor Energy Co. LLC v. United States Dep’t of Interior, No. 18- 14065 (E.D. La. Mar. 31, 2020), ECF No. 71; J.A. 1–2 (Transfer Order). Because we hold that the Claims Court does not have subject matter jurisdiction over this case, we reverse and remand to the district court for further proceedings.

Edgewell Personal Care Brands, LLC v. Munchkin, Inc. (Precedential)

Edgewell Personal Care Brands, LLC, and International Refills Company, Ltd. (collectively, Edgewell) sued Munchkin, Inc. in the Central District of California for infringement of claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 8,899,420 and 6,974,029. Edgewell manufactures and sells the Diaper Genie, which is a diaper pail system that has two main components: (i) a pail for collection of soiled diapers; and (ii) a replaceable cassette that is placed inside the pail and forms a wrapper around the soiled diapers. The ’420 patent and the ’029 patent relate to alleged improvements in the cassette design. See, e.g., ’420 patent at 2:18–32; ’029 patent at Abstract. As relevant to this appeal, Edgewell accused Munchkin’s Second and Third Generation refill cassettes, which Munchkin marketed as being compatible with Edgewell’s Diaper Genie-branded diaper pails, of infringement. J.A. 18474.

In February 2019, the district court issued a claim construction order, construing terms of both the ’420 patent and the ’029 patent. Based on those constructions, Edgewell continued to assert literal infringement of the ’420 patent, but only asserted infringement under the doctrine of equivalents for the ’029 patent. Munchkin moved for, and the district court granted, summary judgment of noninfringement of both patents. See Edgewell Personal Care Brands, LLC v. Munchkin, Inc., No. 18-3005-PSG, 2019 WL 7165917 (C.D. Cal. Oct. 16, 2019) (Summary Judgment Decision). Edgewell appeals. We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1295(a)(1). For the reasons discussed below, we vacate-in-part, reverse-in-part, and remand.

In re Tracfone Wireless, Inc. (Nonprecedential Order)

TracFone Wireless, Inc. petitions for a writ of mandamus directing the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas to transfer this case to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, or in the alternative, to direct the district court to stay proceedings until such time the district court rules on TracFone’s motion to transfer. Precis Group LLC responds and takes “no position regarding the relief requested.”

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The Petition for Writ of Mandamus is granted and the district court is ordered to issue its ruling on the motion to transfer within 30 days from the issuance of this order, and to provide a reasoned basis for its ruling that is capable of meaningful appellate review. See SK hynix, 835 F. App’x at 601. We also order that all proceedings in the case are stayed until further notice. We do not address the merits of TracFone’s motions, leaving those decisions to be made by the district court in the first instance. But we remind the lower court that any familiarity that it has gained with the underlying litigation due to the progress of the case since the filing of the complaint is irrelevant when considering the transfer motion and should not color its decision. See Google, 2015 WL 5294800 at *2.