This morning the Federal Circuit released two precedential opinions and a nonprecedential opinion. The first precedential opinion comes in a patent case appealed from the Western District of Wisconsin. In it, the Federal Circuit reverses the district court’s grant of summary judgment and remands the case. The second precedential opinion comes in a veterans case appealed from the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. In it, the Federal Circuit affirms the denial of a request for benefits. Notably, Judge Reyna filed a concurring opinion. The nonprecedential opinion comes in a patent case appealed from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. The Federal Circuit also released a precedential order in a Vaccine Act case appealed from the Court of Federal Claims. In its order, the Federal Circuit identifies certain issues raised in the appeal to be addressed in new briefings. Finally, the court released a nonprecedential order dismissing an appeal. Here are the introductions to the opinions, text from the order, and a link to the dismissal.

Plastipak Packaging, Inc. v. Premium Waters, Inc. (Precedential)

In this patent case, the District Court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendant-Appellee Premium Waters, Inc. (“Premium Waters”), finding that Plaintiff-Appellant Plastipak Packaging, Inc.’s (“Plastipak”) twelve patents-in-suit were invalid for nonjoinder under pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. § 102(f) (2006). On appeal, the parties dispute whether summary judgment was proper. We reverse and remand.

Cranford v. McDonough (Precedential)

Kristopher Cranford appeals a decision by the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims affirming the denial of his request for benefits. Because Mr. Cranford is not a “veteran” entitled to receive benefits under 38 U.S.C. § 101(2), we affirm.

REYNA, Circuit Judge, concurring.

The majority affirms a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims affirming the denial of Cranford’s request for veterans’ benefits. For the following reasons, I concur only in the result reached.

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Thus, while I agree with the majority’s ultimate conclusion, I do not believe is it necessary, or prudent on this record, to resolve whether § 3.12(d)(1) applies to an OTH discharge. I would instead find that the VA properly denied benefits to Cranford under the terms of the plea bargain, in which he accepted the potential loss of benefits and a discharge under other than honorable conditions in lieu of trial by court-martial.

Fall Line Patents, LLC v. Unified Patents, LLC (Nonprecedential)

In the wake of United States v. Arthrex, Inc., 141 S. Ct. 1970 (2021), we remanded to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to allow appellant Fall Line Patents, LLC to seek Director rehearing of a final written decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. Then-Commissioner for Patents Andrew Hirshfeld, who had been delegated the functions and duties of the Director during a vacancy of the office, denied the request for rehearing. Fall Line challenges whether Commissioner Hirshfeld had the constitutional and statutory authority to act on requests for Director review. Our recent decision in Arthrex, Inc. v. Smith & Nephew, Inc., 35 F.4th 1328 (Fed. Cir. 2022), says that he did. Consequently, we affirm.

DiMasi v. Secretary of Health and Human Services (Precedential Order)

Stephanie DiMasi, at the time 47 years old and enrolled as a nurse-practitioner student, received an influenza vaccine on December 4, 2012. Appx. 15. She was admitted to the hospital on December 5, 2012, released the next day, and then readmitted on December 8, 2012. Appx. 83–90, 96–99. Just under three years later, Ms. DiMasi, through her counsel, filed a petition in the United States Court of Federal Claims (Claims Court) seeking compensation under 42 U.S.C. §§ 300aa-10 to -34 (the Vaccine Act), alleging injuries from the vaccine. Appx. 16, 21, 25. Ms. DiMasi’s counsel sought a decision on the papers, without submission of oral testimony. On November 7, 2019, the special master assigned to the matter denied compensation. Appx. 21–29.

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Ms. DiMasi’s pro se filings raise issues whose resolution would significantly benefit from additional briefing (and oral argument), including from an attorney appointed by this court as an amicus to support her appeal. We here selectively identify certain issues raised in this appeal. The new briefing should address those issues. We do not confine the new briefing to those issues, to the exclusion of other issues that are pertinent to the resolution of the appeal.

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Two issues concerning confidentiality need to be addressed. First, the ability of amicus to carry out the assigned task depends on amicus having access to the confidential materials in the Claims Court record. Within one week of this Order, each of Ms. DiMasi and the Secretary shall file with this court a statement authorizing amicus to have access to the full Claims Court record under a standard protective order or identifying the portions of the record for which such access is being denied. If access is denied in whole or in part, the court will consider how to proceed.

Second, either in the filings required in the preceding paragraph (one week after this Order) or in separate filings made within two weeks after those filings, Ms. DiMasi and the Secretary shall also address the broader issue of confidentiality against the public. The new briefs now ordered will be more useful to this court, including in the writing of any opinion, if confidentiality is waived, in whole or in large part. Much of the material currently marked confidential in the appendix is already disclosed in public documents, including the special master’s opinions and Ms. DiMasi’s briefing in this court. Ms. DiMasi and the Secretary shall inform the court whether they will waive confidentiality as to all the appendix materials, and if not, they shall precisely specify the exact portions they wish to retain confidential status. The court will consider how to proceed after receiving those submissions.