This morning the Federal Circuit released three precedential opinions. The first comes in a patent case appealed from the District of Delaware; the second comes in a veterans case appealed from the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims; and the third comes in a government contract case appealed from the Court of Federal Claims. The Federal Circuit also released two nonprecedential opinions. The first comes in a patent case appealed from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board; the second comes in another patent case appealed from the District of Delaware. Notably, in the second patent case, Judge Newman dissented. Finally, the Federal Circuit released four nonprecedential orders dismissing appeals. Here are the introductions to the opinions and links to the dismissals.

CareDx, Inc. v. Natera, Inc. (Precedential)

CareDx, Inc. and The Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University (“Stanford”) (collectively, “CareDx”) appeal from a decision of the United States District Court for the District of Delaware holding that U.S. Patents 8,703,652 (the “’652 patent”), 9,845,497 (the “’497 patent”), and 10,329,607 (the “’607 patent”) are ineligible for patent under 35 U.S.C. § 101. See CareDx, Inc. v. Natera, Inc., 563 F. Supp. 3d 329 (D. Del. 2021) (“Decision”). We affirm.

Morris v. McDonough (Precedential)

In 1970, Vietnam War veteran Louis C. Morris applied to the Veterans Administration (now the Department of Veterans Affairs, hereinafter “VA”) for disability benefits. Later that year, he received two decisions from a VA regional office: In August 1970, VA denied his claim for benefits based on a service-connected condition; and in November 1970, VA granted his claim for a pension based on a non-service-connected condition. Of importance here, in 2014, after a number of other filings and adjudications, Mr. Morris filed with VA a request for revision of the November 1970 rating decision on the grounds of clear and unmistakable error. He argued that VA, in the November 1970 decision, had implicitly denied his claim for benefits based on a service-connected condition and, in so doing, violated 38 C.F.R. § 3.303(b). Both the VA regional office and, on appeal, the Board of Veterans’ Appeals determined that there was no such clear and unmistakable error.

Mr. Morris then appealed to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (Veterans Court). Before that court, Mr. Morris presented only a single argument: that a September 1970 notice from VA—giving notice of the August 1970 rating decision—was constitutionally inadequate under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. Mr. Morris acknowledged that he had not presented this argument to the Board, but he contended that the Veterans Court was obligated to consider this constitutional question in the first instance under 38 U.S.C. § 7261(a)(1). The Veterans Court disagreed and exercised its discretion, under our issue-exhaustion precedents, to decline to entertain the argument presented for the first time on appeal. Morris v. McDonough, No. 19-3376, 2021 WL 748615, at *5–6 (Vet. App. Feb. 26, 2021).

Mr. Morris appeals. We reject Mr. Morris’s contention that, as a matter of law, the Veterans Court lacked discretion to apply an issue-exhaustion analysis to decide whether to hear Mr. Morris’s new argument on appeal. Because Mr. Morris does not challenge the Veterans Court’s application of that analysis, we affirm the dismissal of the appeal by the Veterans Court.

Zafer Construction Co. v. United States (Precedential)

Zafer Construction Company appeals a decision of the United States Court of Federal Claims dismissing Zafer’s complaint for failing to state a cause of action under Court of Federal Claims Rule 12(b)(6). The Court of Federal Claims determined that Zafer’s request for equitable adjustment is not a claim under the Contract Disputes Act and that Zafer’s subsequent claim is time barred. Because Zafer’s request for equitable adjustment is a claim, we reverse and remand.

Polaris Innovations Ltd. v. Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (Nonprecedential)

Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (“AMD”) petitioned for inter partes review (“IPR”) of claims 1–3, 5, 9–15, 17, and 21–25 of U.S. Patent No. 8,117,526 (“the ’526 patent”), which Polaris Innovations Ltd. (“Polaris”) owns. In a final written decision, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”) concluded that AMD had proved unpatentable only claims 1, 9, 12, 24, and 25. Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. v. Polaris Innovations Ltd., No. IPR2019-01527, Paper 28 (P.T.A.B. Feb. 26, 2021) (“Final Written Decision”). Each party appeals aspects of the decision adverse to it. We affirm in part and dismiss in part.

Ethanol Boosting Systems, LLC v. Ford Motor Co. (Nonprecedential)

Ethanol Boosting Systems, LLC and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (collectively, EBS) appeal an order of the United States District Court for the District of Delaware granting judgment of non-infringement of the asserted patents in favor of Ford Motor Co. (Ford). Because the district court’s judgment is based on erroneous claim construction, we vacate and remand.

NEWMAN, Circuit Judge, dissenting.

I respectfully dissent. The panel majority departs from the rule that patent claims are construed in accordance with the invention described in the specification. Claims cannot be construed to cover subject matter different from what the patentee described as the invention. “Ultimately, ‘[t]he only meaning that matters in claim construction is the meaning in the context of the patent.’” Ruckus Wireless, Inc. v. Innovative Wireless Sols., LLC, 824 F.3d 999, 1003 (Fed. Cir. 2016) (quoting Trs. of Columbia Univ. v. Symantec Corp., 811 F.3d 1359, 1363 (Fed. Cir. 2016)); see also Trs. of Columbia, 811 F.3d at 1363 (“claims must be read in view of the specification, of which they are a part” (quoting Markman v. Westview Instruments, Inc., 52 F.3d 967, 978 (1995) (en banc))). The district court so construed the claims.

The specification describes a system using both directly-injected fuel and port-injected fuel, where the directly-injected fuel includes an anti-knock agent such as ethanol, and the port-injected fuel is different from the directly-injected fuel. The panel majority errs in construing the claims to include a system in which the fuels are not different. The district court correctly rejected that construction.1 I respectfully dissent from my colleagues’ erroneous claim construction, and their incorrect departure from the law of claim construction.