This morning, the Federal Circuit released one precedential opinion, three nonprecedential opinions, and one Rule 36 summary affirmance. The precedential opinion, which drew a dissent from Judge Reyna, reverses and remands a decision by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board cancelling the registration of a trademark. One nonprecedential opinion addresses an appeal from a Veteran’s Court decision, which is ultimately dismissed due to lack of jurisdiction. Another nonprecedential opinion affirms a decision from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board finding a claim unpatentable as obvious. Finally, another nonprecedential opinion affirms a dismissal by the Court of Federal Claims. Late yesterday, the Federal Circuit also released three nonprecedential orders dismissing appeals. Here are the introductions to the opinions and links to the summary affirmance and dismissals.
Great Concepts, LLC v. Chutter, Inc. (Precedential Opinion)
Great Concepts, LLC (“Great Concepts”) appeals the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s (“Board”) decision cancelling registration of its trademark, “DANTANNA’S,” due to the filing of a fraudulent declaration by a former attorney for Great Concepts. The attorney submitted the false declaration to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”) in connection with Great Concepts’ effort to obtain incontestable status for its registered trademark. Because the pertinent part of the applicable statute limits the Board’s authority to cancel registration of a mark to circumstances in which the “registration was obtained fraudulently,” and here there is no claim that this occurred, the Board was not permitted to cancel Great Concepts’ trademark. Thus, we reverse and remand.
REYNA, Circuit Judge, dissenting.
Today, the majority instructs the Patent and Trademark Office that it is without authority to cancel a trademark registration in situations where a registrant defrauds the agency with false declarations intended to deceive the agency into granting incontestable rights for its continued use of a mark. It instructs the agency, and the general public, that there exists a milepost in the trademark administrative continuum, a green-light, beyond which inequitable conduct is encouraged by the promise of great gain with little to no meaningful risk to the registrant. But there is harm. First, this court should be wary not to excuse fraud that is undertaken at any stage within an administrative process. Second, this court must recognize that the grant and protection of intellectual property rights involves a pact with the general public. This case represents a violation of that pact. I respectfully dissent.
Mayorga v. McDonough (Nonprecedential Opinion)
Arnoldo Mayorga, a veteran of the United States Air Force, applied to the Department of Veterans Affairs (or its predecessor, Veterans Administration) on a number of occasions for benefits for alleged service-connected disabilities. As relevant here, he received several negative decisions from the Department (whether a regional office or the Board of Veterans’ Appeals) concerning whether the conditions at issue were connected to his service. In late 2017 and early 2018, Mr. Mayorga requested that the Department, as to certain such decisions, revise them because they were infected by clear and unmistakable error (CUE) or reopen the claims denied in them. In 2018, the Board denied Mr. Mayorga’s requests, declining to revise the prior denials of service connection based on CUE or reopen any of his claims. In 2022, the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (Veterans Court) affirmed the Board’s decision in part but dismissed two sets of challenges raised in Mr. Mayorga’s appeal—one for inadequacy of allegations of (prejudicial) error by the Board, the other for lack of jurisdiction. SAppx. 1–13; Mayorga v. McDonough, No. 221780, 2022 WL 17174968 (Vet. App. Nov. 23, 2022). Mr. Mayorga appeals the Veterans Court’s decision, but we lack jurisdiction over the appeal and must dismiss.
Masimo Corp. v. Apple Inc. (Nonprecedential Opinion)
Masimo Corporation (“Masimo”) appeals from a final written decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”) in an inter partes review (“IPR”) determining claim 15 of U.S. Patent No. 6,771,994 (“the ’994 patent”) unpatentable for obviousness. We affirm.
Austin v. United States (Nonprecedential Opinion)
Gregory Austin appeals the dismissal of his complaint by the Court of Federal Claims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Because Mr. Austin’s claims were clearly outside the jurisdiction of the Court of Federal Claims, dismissal was appropriate. We affirm.