This morning, the Federal Circuit released two precedential opinions, four nonprecedential opinions, and one nonprecedential order. One of the precedential opinions addresses an action brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The other precedential opinion, which was previously released as a nonprecedential opinion, addresses an appeal from the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. Two of the nonprecedential opinions address appeals in patent cases—one from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board and another from a district court. The third nonprecedential opinion addresses an appeal from the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, ultimately finding a lack of jurisdiction. Finally, the fourth nonprecedential opinion addresses an appeal from the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals. The order dismisses an appeal. Here are the introductions to the opinions and a link to the order.

Lambro v. United States (Precedential Opinion)

Jason Lambro brought this action against the United States, on behalf of himself and others similarly situated, under the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq. (FLSA).  He alleged that the federal agency for which he had long done work under a series of contracts, Voice of America (VOA), had denied him benefits such as overtime pay guaranteed to employees under the FLSA.  His key contention is that, although he was concededly not a federal employee under Title 5 of the United States Code or other non-FLSA law, he was a federal employee for FLSA purposes under the applicable definitions of “employee” and “employ” contained in the FLSA itself.  The Court of Federal Claims (Claims Court)—which received the case by unopposed transfer from a district court in which it was originally filed—dismissed the action for failure to state a claim, holding that the FLSA’s definitions, even if his circumstances would bring Mr. Lambro within their terms, were simply inapplicable to federal employees.  See Lambro v. United States, 162 Fed. Cl. 344, 351, 353–55 (2022).

We reject the Claims Court’s conclusion that the FLSA does not cover a person asserting coverage as a federal government employee unless a congressional authorization outside the FLSA creates the asserted employment relationship with the federal government, a condition that Mr. Lambro concededly does not meet.  We hold that the FLSA itself, through its definitional provisions, provides the applicable standard for recognizing an employment relationship for FLSA purposes, so the Claims Court must evaluate whether Mr. Lambro was employed by VOA under the FLSA’s own standard for being employed.  We therefore vacate the Claims Court’s dismissal and remand the case for further proceedings.

In Re Go & Associates, LLC (Precedential Opinion)

GO & Associates, LLC (“GO”) appeals from a decision of the United States Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“the Board”) affirming the examining attorney’s final refusal to register GO’s applied-for mark: “EVERYBODY VS RACISM.”  In re GO & Assocs., LLC, No. 88944728, 2022 WL 1421542 (T.T.A.B. Apr. 20, 2022) (“Decision”).  Because substantial evidence supports the Board’s conclusion, we affirm.

Omega Patents, LLC v. BMW Of North America, LLC  (Nonprecedential Opinion)

Omega Patents, LLC (“Omega”) appeals the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (“Board”) decision invalidating all claims of its U.S. Patent No. 9,458,814 (the “’814 patent”) on obviousness grounds.  Because the Board’s findings are supported by substantial evidence and the Board did not abuse its discretion, we affirm.

Hulsey v. McDonough (Nonprecedential Opinion)

Jerry C. Hulsey appeals a decision of the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (“Veterans Court”) that affirmed in part and vacated in part a decision of the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (“Board”).  Because we lack jurisdiction, we dismiss.

Plotagraph, Inc. v. Lightricks, Ltd. (Nonprecedential Opinion)

Plotagraph, Inc., Troy Plota, and Sascha Connelly (collectively, “Plotagraph”) sued Lightricks, Ltd. (“Lightricks”) in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas for infringement of five patents related to automated pixel shifting in digital photos or videos.  The court dismissed the suit under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim, concluding that the patents claimed subject matter ineligible for patenting under 35 U.S.C. § 101.  Plotagraph, Inc. v. Lightricks Ltd., 620 F. Supp. 3d 591, 602 (S.D. Tex. 2022).  Because we agree that the patent claims are directed to an abstract idea and lack an inventive concept, we affirm.

Caring Hands Health Equipment & Supplies, LLC v. Secretary of Veterans Affairs (Nonprecedential Opinion)

Caring Hands Health Equipment and Supplies, LLC (Caring Hands) appeals a decision of the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals (Board) granting the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) motion for summary judgment on Caring Hands’ breach of contract claims.  For the following reasons, we affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand.