This morning, the Federal Circuit issued a precedential opinion in a case involving an appeal from the Merit Systems Protection Board and a precedential opinion in a patent case addressing eligible subject matter. Additionally, the court issued three nonprecedential opinions: two in patent cases and one in a government contract case involving a bid protest. Finally, the court issued two Rule 36 judgments. Here are the introductions to the opinions and the links to the Rule 36 judgments.

Santos v. National Aeronautics & Space Administration (Precedential)

In 2018, Fernando Santos—a mechanical engineer for National Aeronautics and Space Administration (“NASA”) and a commander in the United States Navy Reserve—was transferred to a new division of NASA and placed under the supervision of Angela Balles, chief of the Ground Systems Branch of the Commercial Division. Despite working at NASA for over 18 years and receiving multiple accolades for his service, Santos began receiving letters of instruction and reprimand under his new supervisor alleging deficient performance. Although Balles maintained that she had no problems with Santos’s mandatory military obligations, the timing of many letters coincided with Santos’s requests for or absences due to military leave. The letters, moreover, made much of Santos’s ability to “report to work in a timely manner and maintain regular attendance at work.” After months of difficulties, Balles formally placed Santos on a performance improvement plan (“PIP”). On August 27, 2018, Balles issued Santos a notice of proposed removal. Santos was removed from his position on September 26, 2018.

On October 26, 2018, Santos appealed his removal to the Merit Systems Protection Board (“Board”). Santos v. Nat’l Aeronautics & Space Admin, No. AT-0432-19-0074-I-1, 2019 WL 2176543 (M.S.P.B. May 21, 2019). The administrative judge (“AJ”) issued an initial decision upholding NASA’s removal and rejecting Santos’s claim under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (“USERRA”). Id. The AJ’s initial decision became the Board’s final decision because Santos did not petition the Board for review. Santos appeals. Because the Board applied the wrong legal framework when assessing Santos’s removal and did not adequately analyze his USERRA claim, we vacate and remand.

HUGHES, Circuit Judge, concurring in the judgment.

The Board failed to properly consider Mr. Santos’s claims pursuant to USERRA, including his claim that the agency’s decision to place him on a PIP in the first place was due to unlawful retaliation or discrimination prohibited by USERRA. I agree that the case should be remanded. Accordingly, I concur in the judgment.

In re Board of Trustees of Leland Stanford Junior University (Precedential)

The Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University appeals the final rejection of patent claims contained in its patent application. The patent examiner reviewing the application rejected the claims on grounds that they involve patent ineligible subject matter. On review, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board affirmed the examiner’s final rejection of the claims. As discussed below, we hold that the rejected claims are drawn to abstract mathematical calculations and statistical modeling, and similar subject matter that is not patent eligible. Accordingly, we affirm the decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board.

Bondyopadhyay v. United States (Nonprecedential)

Dr. Probir Kumar Bondyopadhyay appeals from a decision of the United States Court of Federal Claims (the “Claims Court”) dismissing his complaint against the United States. He alleged a “violation” of U.S. Patent 6,292,134 (the “’134 patent”), a patent infringement-based taking by the government, and fraud. See Bondyopadhyay v. United States, 149 Fed. Cl. 176, 179–83 (2020) (“Decision”). Because the court correctly concluded that the claims were barred by res judicata or for lack of jurisdiction, we affirm.

Zafer Taahut, Insaat Ve Ticaret A.S. v. United States (Nonprecedential)

This case is about a bid protest. Zafer Taahut, Insaat Ve Ticaret A.S. (“Zafer”) appeals from an order of the United States Court of Federal Claims (“Claims Court”) granting judgment on the administrative record in favor of the government and Warbud SKE Joint Venture (“Warbud”). Because Zafer fails to establish that the award of the contract to Warbud was arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law, we affirm the Claims Court’s judgment.

In re Gorris (Nonprecedential)

Mark Gorris appeals a decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“board”) affirming an examiner’s obviousness rejections of proposed claims 21–38 of U.S. Patent Application No. 12/639,882 (the “’882 application”). See Ex parte Gorris, No. 2018-004209, 2020 WL 601688 (P.T.A.B. Feb. 4, 2020) (“Board Decision”). For the reasons discussed below, we affirm.

Rule 36 Judgments