This morning, the Federal Circuit released one nonprecedential opinion and five nonprecedential orders. The opinion addresses an appeal hinging on the interpretation of a patent license agreement. One of the nonprecedential orders addresses a petition for a writ of mandamus. The remaining four nonprecedential orders are dismissals. Here is the introduction to the opinion, selected text from the order addressing the petition, and links to the dismissals.

AlexSam, Inc. v.  Mastercard International Inc.(Nonprecedential Opinion)

This case involves interpretation of a patent license agreement.  The district court granted summary judgment dismissing AlexSam, Inc.’s lawsuit for breach of contract against MasterCard International Inc., holding that the covenant not to sue provision in the License Agreement between AlexSam and MasterCard prohibited AlexSam’s claim for breach of the Agreement’s royalties provision.  See AlexSam, Inc. v. MasterCard Int’l Inc., No. 15-CV-2799, 2022 WL 2541433 (E.D.N.Y. July 7, 2022) (Summary Judgment Op.).

This case illustrates the importance of carefully reviewing the language in a covenant not to sue when entering a license agreement.  AlexSam reads the covenant to prohibit it from suing for patent infringement only, while MasterCard reads the covenant much more broadly to prohibit suits not just for patent infringement, but also for breach of contract for failure to pay royalties due under the contract.  We conclude that MasterCard has the better interpretation given the language in the license agreement at issue.  That said, we hold that the covenant not to sue does not survive the termination of the License Agreement.  Because the License Agreement has terminated, we reverse the district court’s summary judgment in favor of MasterCard and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. 

In re Kuhlmann (Nonprecedential Order)

Kerri S. Kuhlmann petitions this court for a writ of mandamus seeking review of the January 23, 2024 order of the Merit Systems Protection Board.  Ms. Kuhlmann also moves to “add [the Board] as either primary or sole respondent.”  ECF No. 5 at 2.

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(1) The petition is denied because the matter is treated as a timely petition for review.  The Clerk of Court is directed to process the petition as such.  

(2) ECF No. 5 is denied.  

(3) The Board shall file the certified list within 40 days from the date the Clerk of Court dockets this matter as a petition for review.  From the date of service of the certified list, Ms. Kuhlmann has 60 days to file her opening brief in which she may challenge any aspect of the Board’s January 23, 2024 order as well as the administrative judge’s January 17, 2018 decision.