Panel Activity

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 three opinions: the first in an Equal Access to Justice Act case, the second granting petitions seeking writs of mandamus challenging orders of the Western District of Texas regarding transfer motions, and the third in a trademark case. We also highlight a response brief filed in a patent case. Here are the details.


Since our last update, the Federal Circuit has issued three opinions disposing of cases that attracted amicus briefs.

In re Elster

In this trademark case, Elster argued that the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s rejection of its trademark registration violated the Constitution’s First Amendment. The Government, by contrast, contended that ruling was constitutionally legal and applied correctly in this case. This case attracted an amicus brief from Matthew A. Handal in support of neither party. The Federal Circuit held “that the Board’s application of section 2(c) to Elster’s mark is unconstitutional under any conceivable standard of review, and accordingly [it] reverse[d] the Board’s decision that Elster’s mark is unregistrable.” See our opinion summary for more information.

In re Volkswagen Group of America, Inc; In re Hyundai Motor America

In these consolidated petitions for a writ of mandamus, the petitioners sought 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 petitioners attracted an amicus brief in support of their mandamus petition from Alliance for Automotive Innovation. In its precedential order, the Federal Circuit concluded that the district courts abused their “discretion in failing to properly apply established agency law and reaching a patently erroneous result.” Ultimately, the Federal Circuit granted both petitions. We will post an opinion summary soon.

Monroe v. United States

In this EAJA case, the court considered whether the trial court abused its discretion in awarding attorneys’ fees to Monroe. This case attracted an amicus brief from the National Veterans Legal Services Program in support of Monroe. The Federal Circuit held that the Court of Federal Claims did abuse its discretion “due to its errors in faulting jurisdiction for the government’s overall position.” The Federal Circuit reversed “the Claims Court awarding attorney’s fees and expenses to Mr. Monroe.” We will post our opinion summary soon.

New Briefing

Personalized Media Communications, LLC v. Apple Inc.

In this patent case, Personalized Media Communications appeals a district court’s decision to overturn a jury verdict by applying “the equitable doctrine of prosecution latches.” As we have previously reported, Personalized Media Communications received support in the form of an amicus brief filed by the “Fair Inventing Fund.”

Since our last report about this case, Apple filed its response brief. In it, Apple asserts that the “district court properly found that PMC’s delay prosecuting the [relevant] patent was unreasonable and inexcusable under the totality
of the circumstances.” It further argues that the “district court properly found that Apple’s work on [its own product] overlapped with the improper delays PMC engineered through its conduct.”