This morning the Federal Circuit released a precedential opinion in a patent case appealed from the Eastern District of Virginia, reversing in part, vacating in part, and remanding the case based on disqualification of the district court judge. Here is the introduction to the opinion.

Centripetal Networks, Inc. v. Cisco Systems, Inc. (Precedential)

Appellant Cisco Systems, Inc. (“Cisco”) appeals from the judgment of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia holding that Cisco willfully infringed claims 9 and 17 of U.S. Patent No. 9,203,806 (“the ’806 patent”); claims 11 and 21 of U.S. Patent No. 9,560,176 (“the ’176 patent”); claims 18 and 19 of U.S. Patent No. 9,686,193 (“the ’193 patent”); and claims 24 and 25 of U.S. Patent No. 9,917,856 (“the ’856 patent”). The court awarded enhanced damages and royalties exceeding $2.75 billion to patentee-appellee Centripetal Networks, Inc. (“Centripetal”). See Centripetal Networks, Inc. v. Cisco Sys., Inc., 492 F. Supp. 3d 495, 608 (E.D. Va. 2020) (“Merits Op.”).

Because we hold that the district court judge was disqualified from hearing the case once he became aware of his wife’s ownership of Cisco stock on August 11, 2020, see 28 U.S.C. § 455(b)(4), we reverse the district court’s denial of Cisco’s motion for recusal, Centripetal Networks, Inc. v. Cisco Sys., Inc., 492 F. Supp. 3d 615 (E.D. Va. 2020) (“Recusal Op.”), vacate all orders and opinions of the court entered on or after August 11, 2020, including the final judgment, and remand for further proceedings before a different district court judge.