This morning the Federal Circuit released a nonprecedential opinion in a takings case and two nonprecedential opinions in patent cases, one affirming the Patent Trial and Appeal Board and another dismissing an appeal for lack of constitutional standing. The court also issued a nonprecedential order granting a petition for a writ of mandamus ordering the Western District of Texas to transfer a patent infringement case. Notably, this order marked the second grant of mandamus against the Western District of Texas in the same case. The first grant of mandamus required the Western District of Texas to rule on a long-pending motion to transfer, while this second grant of mandamus requires the Western District of Texas to transfer the case.
Jackson-Greenly Farm, Inc. v. United States (Nonprecedential)
On August 3, 2018, sixty-two landowners (“Landowners”) with property on or near Dogtooth Bend Peninsula in Alexander County, Illinois, filed a takings claim in the United States Court of Federal Claims (“Claims Court”) alleging that the Army Corps of Engineers (“Corps”) caused recurrent atypical flooding of their land that constituted a taking. The Claims Court dismissed the action without prejudice, concluding that the Landowners’ claims were barred by the six-year statute of limitations governing actions brought under the Tucker Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1491(a)(1). Because Landowners’ claims stabilized before August 3, 2012, we affirm.
Cerner Corporation v. Clinicomp International, Inc. (Nonprecedential)
This is not the first time issues presented on appeal do not mirror directly those presented to the lower tribunal. Such is the case here. Because we conclude that the claim construction debate on which this appeal initially turns was never presented to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”) and that the Board had substantial evidence to support its assessment of the prior art disclosure at issue, we affirm the Board’s patentability determination.
Cerner Corporation and athenahealth, Inc. (collectively, “Cerner”) appeal from a final written decision of the Board holding claims 1–25 of U.S. Patent 6,665,647 (the “’647 patent”) patentable. Those are the determinations we affirm.
Sebela Ireland Ltd. v. Prinston Pharmaceutical Inc. (Nonprecedential)
This appeal arises from several patent infringement actions filed by Sebela in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey against Prinston and Actavis. Sebela accused Prinston and Actavis of infringing claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 8,658,663 (’663 patent) and 8,946,251 (’251 patent), both relating to methods of using paroxetine to treat thermoregulatory dysfunction associated with menopause. Following a bench trial, the district court found claims 1, 2, and 5 of the ’663 patent and claims 1, 2, 4, 9, and 10 of the ’251 patent invalid as obvious. See In re Sebela Pat. Litig., No. 2:14-cv-06414-CCC-MF, 2017 WL 3449054 (D.N.J. Aug. 11, 2017) (Opinion); J.A. 69–72 (Final Judgment).
Sebela’s appeal is unusual in that it does not challenge the district court’s invalidity holding based on obviousness grounds; it actually asks us to summarily affirm that decision. Instead, Sebela’s objective is to ensure that any adverse alternative rulings made by the district court for those same patent claims as to utility and written description carry no preclusive effect. Specifically, Sebela asks us to summarily affirm the district court’s unchallenged obviousness ruling while at the same time making clear that we do not reach the district court’s findings as to written description and utility. In effect, Sebela’s theory for standing to bring this appeal rests on its view that any alternative invalidity holding based on written description or utility grounds has a substantial chance, under Third Circuit law, of being given preclusive effect against Sebela’s related patent claims it has asserted in a separate patent infringement action regarding U.S. Patent No. 9,393,237 (’237 patent). Prinston, for its part, has not declared that it will forgo any invocation of preclusion as to any written description and utility determinations by the district court here. Rather, it contends that Sebela lacks standing in this appeal because Sebela has not sought to overturn the district court’s judgment that the asserted claims are invalid (for obviousness) and issue preclusion concerns are an insufficient basis for standing to appeal.
We need not address the correctness of Sebela’s standing theory because it rests on an erroneous premise—that the district court made alternative invalidity holdings based on written description and utility grounds. While the district court briefly discussed those two potential invalidity grounds, it did so in an inconclusive, contingent manner that did not result in additional, alternative holdings to the obviousness ground for invalidity. Because Sebela’s only identified injury it seeks to undo in this appeal is based on a misreading of the district court’s decision, we conclude Sebela lacks constitutional standing to bring this appeal. Accordingly, we dismiss.
In re TracFone Wireless, Inc. (Nonprecedential Order)
This is the second petition for a writ of mandamus filed by TracFone Wireless, Inc. concerning its motion to transfer this patent infringement case brought by Precis Group LLC in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, Waco Division, to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. On March 8, 2021, this court granted TracFone’s first petition for a writ of mandamus and ordered the district court to stay all proceedings and decide the long-pending motion within 30 days. In re TracFone Wireless, Inc., No. 2021-118, 2021 WL 865353 (Fed. Cir. Mar. 8, 2021). Three days later, the district court denied the motion, rejecting two arguments TracFone now raises in this petition: (1) that venue was improper in the Western District of Texas and (2) that 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) required transfer. Appx178. We now grant mandamus for a second time. We conclude that the district court clearly abused its discretion in denying transfer under § 1404(a). Having reached that conclusion, we do not address TracFone’s improper-venue arguments.