This morning the Federal Circuit issued a precedential opinion in a patent case appealed from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, a nonprecedential opinion in an employment case appealed from the Merit Systems Protection Board, and a precedential order granting two petitions for writ of mandamus against the Western District of Texas to dismiss or transfer cases. Finally, the Federal Circuit issued two Rule 36 judgments. Here are the introductions to the opinions and order and links to the Rule 36 judgments.

Apple Inc. v. MPH Technologies Oy (Precedential)

Apple appeals from three Patent Trial and Appeal Board inter partes review final written decisions collectively holding Apple failed to show claims 2, 4, 9, and 11 of U.S. Patent No. 9,712,494; claims 7–9 of U.S. Patent No. 9,712,502; and claims 3, 5, 10, and 12–16 of U.S. Patent No. 9,838,362 would have been obvious. For the following reasons, we affirm.

Keys v. Department of Housing and Urban Development (Nonprecedential)

James L. Keys resigned from his job with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD, or agency) after being reassigned from one position to another. He later filed an appeal with the Merit Systems Protection Board alleging, as now relevant, that the reassignment was an act of reprisal by HUD for whistleblowing on his part. In the decision now before us, the Board, after a hearing, denied the reprisal claim on three grounds: the asserted disclosure (the basis for the whistleblowing reprisal claim) was not a protected one; even if it was, Mr. Keys had not shown that the disclosure was a contributing factor in his reassignment; and even if he had made that showing, the agency had carried its burden to demonstrate that it would have reassigned Mr. Keys in the absence of the disclosure. Keys v. Dep’t of Hous. & Urban Dev., No. DC-1221-19-0150-M-1, 2021 WL 1081710 (M.S.P.B. Mar. 19, 2021) (Board Op.). We affirm, finding no error in the final ground, which suffices to support the Board’s ruling.

In re Volkswagen Group of America Inc. (Precedential Order)

Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (Volkswagen or VW) and Hyundai Motor America (Hyundai or HMA) (collectively, the “Petitioners”) both seek a writ of mandamus to vacate the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas’s denial of their motions to dismiss or transfer for improper venue. The district court held venue was proper over each car distributor under 28 U.S.C. § 1400(b). The court based that conclusion on the presence of independently owned and operated Volkswagen or Hyundai car dealerships in the Western District of Texas, determining those independent dealerships constituted “a regular and established place of business” of the Petitioners. § 1400(b). Because there has been disagreement on this issue in the district courts, we deem it appropriate to now take up the issue. We conclude that the district court clearly abused its discretion in failing to properly apply established agency law and reaching a patently erroneous result. We therefore grant both petitions.

Rule 36 Judgments