Court Week / Panel Activity

This week is Court Week at the Federal Circuit, with hearings starting today. The Federal Circuit is providing access to live audio of each panel scheduled for argument via the Federal Circuit’s YouTube channel. In total, the court will convene 10 panels to consider about 55 cases. Of these 55 cases, the court will hear oral arguments in 39. Of these argued cases, three attracted amicus briefs: two patent cases and one takings case. Here’s what you need to know about these three cases.

Thaler v. Vidal

As explained in our argument preview, in this patent case, Thaler seeks review of a district court’s grant of summary judgment to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, deciding that “an artificial intelligence machine cannot be an ‘inventor’ under the Patent Act.”

According to Thaler, the Patent Act “does not require that an ‘inventor’ be a human being.” He argues that the plain meaning of the terms “individual” and “persons” used in the Act include artificial intelligence. Additionally, Thaler claims that, plain language aside, “excluding an entire cutting-edge class of inventions from patentability would undermine the patent system.”

In response, the USPTO notes that the terms “individual” and “himself or herself” are used in the statutory definition of “inventor.” The USPTO uses this as evidence that Congress intended only to include humans in the definition.

This case attracted a pro se amicus brief from an individual named Mitchell Apper in support of affirming the district court.

Ryan Abbott will argue for Thaler.

Dennis C. Barghaan Jr. will argue for the USPTO.

This argument is scheduled to take place this morning, Monday, June 6, in Courtroom 201 at 10:00 A.M. Eastern.

Memmer v. United States

As explained in our argument preview, in this takings case, Memmer appeals a decision by the Court of Federal Claims concerning a Notice of Interim Trail Use issued by the Surface Transportation Board. He challenges the lower court’s analysis of causation as well as its decision that “the duration of the taking lasted as long as the railroad’s abandonment authority existed.”

Memmer argues that the issuance of a NITU “triggers a physical taking” because it “authorizes a physical occupation of the landowners’ property.” He claims “the taking is a per se categorical physical taking when it is issued” and, as a result, there is either no causation requirement or the requirement is automatically fulfilled.

The United States refutes Memmer’s claim that there is no causation requirement, citing precedent. The government asserts that the case law does not support Memmer’s claims. The United States also cross-appeals, arguing the lower court “erred in holding that Indiana Southwestern would have abandoned if the NITU had not issued.”

This case attracted an amicus brief in support of Memmer from the National Association of Reversionary Property Owners, Cato Institute, Owners’ Counsel of America, Southeastern Legal Foundation, Reason Foundation, and Professor James W. Ely, Jr.

Thomas S. Stewart will argue for Memmer.

Daniel Halainen will argue for the United States.

This argument is also scheduled to take place this morning, Monday, June 6, in Courtroom 402 at 10:00 A.M. Eastern.

Koninklijke Philips N.V. v. Thales USA, Inc.

As explained in our argument preview, in this patent case, Thales appeals a district court’s denial of a motion for a preliminary injunction that sought to “prevent Philips from pursuing an . . . exclusion order against Thales” in the International Trade Commission given Philips fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) licensing obligation.

Thales contends that the district court erred “in concluding that Thales was not likely to succeed on the merits” and that if the district court’s decision is allowed to stand, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute’s FRAND licensing obligation “will be rendered meaningless.”

Philips claims not only is Thales unlikely to succeed but also Thales “provides no authority for its (new) proposition that an ITC Investigation can be enjoined if the alleged infringer is likely to prevail on the merits in front of the ITC.” Additionally, Philips challenges Thales’ argument “that the district court incorrectly framed Thales’ motion as ‘effectively enjoining an ITC proceeding.’”

Two amicus briefs were filed in support of Thales, one by The App Association, and another by Continental Automotive Systems, Inc., U-Blox America, Inc., and American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

R. Paul Zeineddin will argue for Thales.

Eley O. Thompson will argue for Philips.

This argument is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, June 7, in Courtroom 201 at 10:00 A.M. Eastern.