This morning the Federal Circuit released three nonprecedential opinions. Two come in patent cases appealed, respectively, from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board and the Northern District of Ohio. The third comes in a Tucker Act case appealed from the Court of Federal Claims. Notably, in this third case Judge Newman wrote a dissenting opinion. Here are the introductions to the opinions.
Cameron International v. Nitro Fluids L.L.C. (Nonprecedential)
Cameron International Corporation (Cameron) owns U.S. Patent 9,932,800 (’800 patent). In March 2019, Nitro Fluids, L.L.C. (Nitro) filed a petition for inter partes review of claims 1, 3–5, 7, 8, 11–14, 17, and 18, among others. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (Board) determined that claims 1, 3, 4, 7, 8, and 17 were anticipated by U.S. Patent Publication No. 2009/0114392 (Tolman) and that claim 5 was unpatentable as obvious in view of Tolman and U.S. Patent Publication No. 2009/0194273 (Surjaatmadja). Ni-tro Fluids, L.L.C. v. Cameron Int’l Corp., IPR2019-00852, 2020 WL 5239811, at *25 (P.T.A.B. Sept. 2, 2020) (Final Written Decision). The Board upheld the patentability of claims 11–14 and 18. Id. Cameron appeals with respect to the claims the Board found to be unpatentable and Nitro cross-appeals with respect to the claims the Board upheld. For the following reasons, we affirm.
Lowe v. Shieldmark, Inc. (Nonprecedential)
Clifford A. Lowe and InSite Solutions, LLC (“Lowe”) appeal from the decisions of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio (1) granting summary judgment following claim construction that ShieldMark, Inc. et al. (“ShieldMark”) does not infringe claims 1–6, 10–16, and 20–21 of U.S. Patent 10,214,664 (“the ’664 patent”), (2) dismissing Lowe’s claim for a declaratory judgment of invalidity and unenforceability of U.S. Patent 10,738,220 (“the ’220 patent”), and (3) denying attorney fees. Lowe v. ShieldMark, Inc., No. 1:19-CV-748, 2021 WL 2530219 (N.D. Ohio June 21, 2021) (“Noninfringement Decision”); Lowe v. ShieldMark, Inc., No. 1:19-CV-748, ECF No. 87 (N.D. Ohio May 19, 2021) (“Claim Construction Order”), J.A. 1–18; Lowe v. ShieldMark, Inc., No. 1:19-CV-748, ECF No. 104 (N.D. Ohio July 16, 2021) (“Dismissal”), J.A. 27–31.
Because the district court erred in its claim construction, we vacate its decision granting summary judgment of noninfringement and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. We affirm the court’s dismissal of Lowe’s declaratory judgment claim and denial of attorney fees.
Butte County, Idaho v. United States (Nonprecedential)
In 1984, the United States Department of Energy (DOE) contracted with the operator of the failed Three Mile Island nuclear reactor to take possession of the damaged nuclear core material. Between 1986 and 1990, DOE moved the material to a DOE facility located mostly within Butte County, Idaho. In 2019, Butte County sued the United States in the Court of Federal Claims (Claims Court), asserting a violation of Part B of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (NWPA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 10151–57 (effective Jan. 7, 1983), as a basis for monetary damages under the Tucker Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1491(a)(1). Specifically, Butte County alleged that DOE was storing the material pursuant to NWPA provisions governing interim storage capacity for spent nuclear fuel and that Butte County was entitled to “impact assistance payments” under 42 U.S.C. § 10156(e)(1).
The United States moved to dismiss, and the Claims Court granted the motion on two grounds. Butte County, Idaho v. United States, 151 Fed. Cl. 808, 812 (2021). First, the Claims Court held that it lacked jurisdiction under the Tucker Act because Butte County’s claim was untimely under 28 U.S.C. § 2501. Id. at 815–18. Second, it held that Butte County failed to state a claim for payments under 42 U.S.C. § 10156(e). Id. at 818–20.
Butte County appeals. We affirm the judgment dismissing the case for lack of jurisdiction, though not on the timeliness ground. Even if the suit were timely, jurisdiction under the Tucker Act would require that the “impact assistance payments” provision of the NWPA be money-mandating for Butte County’s claim of violation. We conclude that the provision is not money-mandating for Butte County, a conclusion that defeats Tucker Act jurisdiction. We decide no other issue.
NEWMAN, Circuit Judge, dissenting in part, concurring in part.
I agree that this appeal should be dismissed. However, I do not share the view that the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, Title I, Schedule B (the “NWPA”), at 42 U.S.C. §§ 10151–10157, is not a money-mandating statute for purposes of Tucker Act jurisdiction. These provisions of the NWPA provide for payment by the federal government to state or local governments in designated circumstances. I do not share my colleagues’ view that, were this claim timely, there would not be subject matter jurisdiction under the Tucker Act—a position not taken by the government, a position contrary to the jurisdictional ruling of the Court of Federal Claims, and unsupported by precedent.
The Court of Federal Claims held that the Tucker Act’s six-year Statute of Limitations bars this action. I agree. The relevant NWPA activity terminated in 1990, and no ensuing event tolled accrual of the time bar for Butte County’s claims. I would affirm the ruling of the Court of Federal Claims, and avoid the majority’s sua sponte holding that departs from precedent for money-mandating statutes.