Happy New Year! The Federal Circuit kicked off 2024 with the release of one precedential opinion and one nonprecedential opinion. The precedential opinion addresses issues of standing and failure to state a claim in a government contract matter. The nonprecedential opinion addresses an appeal in a patent case in which a district court granted summary judgment of invalidity. Here are the introductions to the opinions.

B.H. Aircraft Co. Inc. v. United States (Precedential)

B.H. Aircraft Company, Inc. (“B.H. Aircraft”) filed a bid protest action in the Court of Federal Claims to challenge the inclusion of F414 afterburner liner replacement services within a larger contract for the United States Department of the Navy (“Navy”).  The Court of Federal Claims concluded that B.H. Aircraft lacked standing.  Alternatively, the Court of Federal Claims concluded that B.H. Aircraft failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted because B.H. Aircraft had not established a violation of the bundling regulation. 

Consistent with our recent opinion in CACI, Inc.-Fed. v. United States, 67 F.4th 1145, 1151–52 (Fed. Cir. 2023), we hold that the standing issue here (i.e., whether B.H. Aircraft is a qualified bidder) is one of statutory standing, which overlaps with one aspect of the merits.  The other merits issue is whether the contract violates the bundling regulations.  We review the Court of Federal Claims’ decision as to standing and failure to state a claim de novo.  The Court of Federal Claims reviews the decisions of the contracting officer as to statutory standing and as to the application of the bundling regulation under the standard of “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law.”  PAI Corp. v. United States, 614 F.3d 1347, 1351 (Fed. Cir. 2010) (quoting Bannum, Inc. v. United States, 404 F.3d 1346, 1351 (Fed. Cir. 2005)); Impresa Construzioni Geom. Domenico Garufi v. United States, 238 F.3d 1324, 1332 n.5 (Fed. Cir. 2001).  We agree with the Court of Federal Claims that under that standard B.H. Aircraft failed to state a claim on which relief could be granted.  We affirm.

PureCircle USA v. Sweegen, Inc. (Nonprecedential)

PureCircle USA Inc. and PureCircle Sdn Bhd (collectively, “PureCircle”), the owners of U.S. Patent Nos. 9,243,273 (“’273 patent”) and 10,485,257 (“’257 patent”), brought suit for infringement against defendants SweeGen, Inc. and Phyto Tech Corp. d/b/a Blue California (collectively, “SweeGen”).  The District Court for the Central District of California granted summary judgment to defendants, concluding that all claims of the asserted patents were invalid due to a lack of written description, and that claims 1–11 and 14 of the ’273 patent and claims 1–5 of the ’257 patent were unpatentable under 35 U.S.C. § 101.  We conclude that claims 1–13 of the ’273 patent and all claims of the ’257 patent are invalid for lack of written description, and we also conclude that claim 14 of the ’273 patent is unpatentable under § 101.  We affirm