Late Friday and this morning, the Federal Circuit issued two precedential opinions and a nonprecedential order. In the first opinion, the court affirmed a judgment of the Merit Systems Protection Board. In the second opinion, the Federal Circuit affirmed-in-part, vacated-in-part, and remanded a judgment in a patent case appealed from the Western District of Washington. Notably, Judge Clevenger dissented. The Federal Circuit also issued a nonprecedential order dismissing an appeal. Here are the introductions to the opinions and link to the dismissal.

Reuter v. Department of Commerce (Precedential)

The United States Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), removed Jason Rueter for misconduct. Mr. Rueter appealed to the Merit Systems Protection Board, which affirmed his removal. Mr. Rueter now appeals to our court, alleging that the agency violated his due process rights by engaging in ex parte communications about his case. Because we conclude that none of the ex parte communications challenged by Mr. Rueter deprived him of due process, we affirm.

Ironburg Inventions Ltd. v. Valve Corporation (Precedential)

In 2015, Ironburg Inventions Ltd. (“Ironburg”) sued Valve Corporation (“Valve”) for infringing U.S. Patent No. 8,641,525 (the “’525 patent”). In January 2021, after much pretrial litigation and a change of venue, a jury trial was held in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington. . . . Prior to trial, the district court rejected invalidity challenges based on the purported indefiniteness of several claim terms. It also held that Valve was estopped from pressing its prior-art-based invalidity defenses as a consequence of Valve’s partially instituted inter partes review (“IPR”). Trial, therefore, proceeded only on infringement and damages issues. The jury returned a verdict of willful infringement and assessed damages of over $4 million. . . . Both parties appealed. On appeal, we: (1) affirm the judgment that (a) “elongate member” is not indefinite, (b) “extends substantially the full distance between the top edge and the bottom edge” is not indefinite, (c) the claims are infringed, (d) the infringement was willful, (e) damages will not be enhanced, and (f) Valve is estopped from litigating the prior-art grounds on which IPR was requested but not instituted; and (2) vacate the district court’s conclusion that Valve is also estopped from litigating its later-discovered invalidity grounds and remand for further proceedings solely with respect to this issue.

CLEVENGER, Circuit Judge, dissenting.

The majority concedes that a proper indefiniteness inquiry for measurement claims can include questions of “where” measurements are taken, and, correspondingly, that not all “where” questions are just infringement questions. But the majority fails to explain why the “where” issue in this case falls out of the indefiniteness inquiry and into an infringement concern. With respect, I dissent from the majority’s conclusion that the ’525 patent is not indefinite.