Here is this month’s update on activity in cases pending before panels of the Federal Circuit where the cases involve at least one amicus brief. We keep track of these cases in the “Other Cases” section of our blog. Today, with respect to these cases we highlight one disposition in a veterans law case, two oral argument recaps in a patent case and a veterans law case, four new patent cases, a patent case with new briefing, and four upcoming oral arguments in related Tucker Act cases. Here are the details.
This past month, the Federal Circuit issued one opinion disposing of a case that attracted an amicus brief.
In this case, the Federal Circuit quoted the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, explaining that “‘the precise question the Court must answer in this appeal is: how does the law treat a veteran who qualifies for the Montgomery GI Bill under one period of service and the Post-9/11 GI Bill under an entirely separate qualifying period or periods of service?’” The panel held that “each period of service earns education benefits, subject to its cap of 48 aggregate months of benefits.” An amicus brief was filed in support of Rudisill by the National Veterans Legal Services Program and Veterans Education Success. See our opinion summary for more information.
Since our last report, the Federal Circuit has heard oral argument in two cases that attracted amicus briefs.
In this patent case, the Federal Circuit considered arguments by Kannuu that inter partes review proceedings brought by Samsung should have been enjoined due to a forum selection clause in a contract among the parties. Kannuu contends that the district court erroneously denied its related motion for a preliminary injunction. The case attracted dueling amicus briefs by law professors. Check out our argument recap for more details.
In this veterans case, Larson asked the Federal Circuit to overrule what he characterizes as the Veterans Court’s prohibition of reviewing Board of Veterans Appeals decisions regarding the Department of Veterans Affairs Schedule of Disabilities. Two veterans’ groups supported Larson. See our argument recap for more details.
This past month, four patent cases attracted at least one amicus brief.
Apple petitions the Federal Circuit for a “writ of mandamus to compel the district court to transfer the underlying litigation to the Northern District of California.” Apple claims the Western District of Texas “clearly abused its discretion in evaluating and denying Apple’s transfer motion” by ignoring Federal Circuit and Fifth Circuit precedent regarding “witness availability and convenience.”
Two amicus briefs were filed in support of Apple. One was filed by Unified Patents, LLC. Another was filed by the Computer & Communications Industry Association, Engine Advocacy, and ACT | The App Association. The former claims the district court failed to consider the convenience of witnesses and erred in its time to trial comparison. The latter argues (1) the patent venue statute emphasizes the importance of local interests, (2) not transferring the case is “a clear a repeated violation of this Court’s previous guidance,” (3) and “failure to grant Mandamus would harm the patent system and burden defendants generally, reducing investment in product development.”
Dish Network also petitions to move its case, but from the Western District of Texas to the District of Colorado. It argues the district court abused its discretion when evaluating both the private and public factors for transfer.
The Computer & Communications Industry Association, High Tech Inventors Alliance, and R Street Institute filed an amicus brief in support of the petitioner. As in In re Apple, they argue (1) the patent venue statute emphasizes the importance of local interests, (2) not transferring the case is “a clear a repeated violation of this Court’s previous guidance,”, (3) District Courts can attract plaintiffs by limiting transfer of cases, and (4) “failure to grant Mandamus would harm the patent system and burden defendants generally, reducing investment in product development.”
In this case, Google also seeks a writ of mandamus to transfer the case from the Western District of Texas to the Northern District of California. In its petition, Google claims the “overwhelming weight of the convenience factors under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) favors transfer.”
The Computer & Communications Industry Association, Engine Advocacy, and Professor Mark Lemley filed an amicus brief in support of the petitioner. They argue the Western District of Texas “is an inconvenient court in which defendants face litigation unrelated to their presence in the forum.” As a result, they say, the Federal Circuit “should grant mandamus and order transfer to continue its efforts to address this issue.”
In this case, Uniloc appeals a decision from the District Court of Delaware that granted a motion to dismiss filed by Motorola. In its opening brief, Uniloc argues the decision of the district court should be reversed because, (1) as “the undisputed owner . . . Uniloc had a constitutionally sufficient interest to sue for infringement;” (2) Uniloc didn’t transfer all rights to the patent and thus “remained the patent owner and retained standing to sue;” (3) even if sublicensing a patent could affect standing, the right was extinguished before this suit was filed; and (4) Uniloc transferred the patent to Uniloc 2017 LLC during the litigation and an erroneous lower court decision failed to substitute Uniloc 2017 LLC as the plaintiff going forward.
Cirba Inc. (d/b/a “Densify”) filed an amicus brief in support of the appellants and reversal. In its brief, Cirba asserts the court should “use this opportunity to clarify and reinforce the precedent that exclusionary rights in a patent are unnecessary for Article III standing.”
In this patent case, Mobility Workx, on appeal, presents several arguments that inter partes review violates the Constitution. In particular, Mobility Workx argues that inter partes review violates its right to due process and qualifies as a taking under the Fifth Amendment. The court has already heard oral argument, but requested additional briefing in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Arthrex, Inc.
In its new brief, Mobility Workx argues “the PTAB panel’s decision should be vacated and the present case remanded to the PTO for the Director to issue a certificate confirming the challenged claims.” According to Mobility Workx, “it is clear based on the Supreme Court’s Arthrex decision that the PTAB did not reach a final determination within the statutory 12- or 18-month period.” Additionally, Mobility Workx claims that, “in view of the Supreme Court’s reasoning and a number of procedural uncertainties, absent a remand instructing the Director to issue a certificate under 35 U.S.C. § 318(b) confirming the challenged claims to be patentable, there is no clear, permissible path forward for the present appeal.”
Upcoming Oral Argument
For the court’s August oral argument session, four cases that attracted amicus briefs will be argued. The cases include Arrowood Indemnity Co. v. United States, Cacciapalle v. United States, Owl Creek Asia I, L.P. v. United States, and Fairholme Funds, Inc. v. United States. The cases are all related and present the same issues:
- “When the United States changes the capital structure of a company that it controls, transferring the value of stock held by Private Shareholders to the class of stock held exclusively by the United States, whether the Private Shareholders have a direct claim against the United States, or (as the Court of Federal Claims held) only derivative claims on behalf of the company.”
- “The Court of Federal Claims held that, under the Tucker Act, claims by Private Shareholders of Fannie Mae (‘Fannie’) and Freddie Mac (‘Freddie,’ and together with Fannie, the ‘Companies’) for takings and illegal exaction were against the United States, and thus within that court’s subject-matter jurisdiction, because the Federal Housing Finance Agency (the ‘Agency’) remains the United States when acting as conservator of the Companies. If the United States contests that holding, this issue is presented: Whether the Court of Federal Claims has jurisdiction, under the Tucker Act, over Private Shareholders’ claims that an amendment of a stock-purchase agreement between the Agency (as conservator for the Companies) and the United States Department of the Treasury (‘Treasury’) was a taking (or illegal exaction) by ‘the United States.'”
- “Whether the Court of Federal Claims erred in holding that the United States, as ‘conservator’ (through the Agency) and shareholder (through Treasury) of the Companies, had no fiduciary duty to the private, non-government shareholders, and therefore erred in holding that the court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction over the Private Shareholders’ claims that the United States breached that fiduciary duty by diverting to itself all future profits of the Companies.”
- “Whether the Court of Federal Claims erred in holding that private, non-government shareholders in the Companies were not third-party beneficiaries of the implied-in-fact contracts between the United States (via the Agency) and the Companies, by which the Companies consented to conservatorship, and therefore erred in holding that the court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction over the Private Shareholders’ claim that the United States breached those implied-in-fact contracts by diverting to itself essentially all future profits of the Companies.”
We plan to post an argument preview about these cases later this week.