This morning, the Federal Circuit released four precedential opinions, two nonprecedential opinions, and two nonprecedential dismissals. The first precedential opinion comes in a case involving allegations of infringement of numerous patents and addresses appeals from a summary judgment of infringement of a subset of claims, from a jury determination that remaining claims were not infringed, and from a determination that all asserted claims, including those infringed, were invalid. The second precedential opinion addresses an appeal from a judgment of a district court finding certain patent claims invalid, finding certain claims infringed, and entering a damage award in excess of $6 million. The third precedential opinion addresses an appeal from a judgment of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. The fourth precedential opinion addresses an appeal from a judgment of the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. Each of the two nonprecedential opinions affirms a judgment—one of a district court in a patent case turning on patent eligibility, another of the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals. Here are the introductions to the opinions and links to the dismissals.

Inline Plastics Corp. v. Lacerta Group, LLC (Precedential Opinion)

In this action, filed by Inline Plastics Corp. against Lacerta Group, LLC, Inline alleges infringement of several of its patents, i.e., U.S. Patent Nos. 7,118,003; 7,073,680; 9,630,756; 8,795,580; and 9,527,640, which describe and claim certain containers (having features that make them resistant to tampering and make tampering evident) as well as methods of making such containers using thermoformed plastic.  After the district court granted Inline summary judgment of infringement on a subset of claims, a jury determined that the remaining asserted claims were not infringed and that all the asserted claims (including those already held infringed) were invalid.  The district court denied posttrial motions, found the case not exceptional for purposes of attorney fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285, and entered a final judgment.  

Inline appeals on several grounds, including that it was entitled to judgment as a matter of law of no invalidity and that an error in the jury instructions requires a new trial on invalidity.  Lacerta cross-appeals, challenging the denial of attorney fees and the judgment’s dismissal “without prejudice” of certain patent claims Inline voluntarily dropped from its asserted-claims list near the end of trial.

We reject Inline’s argument for judgment as a matter of law of no invalidity, but we agree with Inline that the jury instruction on the objective indicia of nonobviousness constituted prejudicial legal error, so the invalidity judgment must be set aside.  We affirm the judgment’s adoption of the verdict’s finding of no infringement, a finding separate from invalidity.  We remand for a new trial on invalidity as to all Inline-asserted claims; damages (not yet adjudicated) also will have to be adjudicated for the claims already held infringed on summary judgment if newly held not invalid.  We address Inline’s other arguments in a limited manner given our new-trial ruling.  On Lacerta’s crossappeal, because there is no longer a final judgment, we vacate the without-prejudice dismissal of Inline’s late withdrawn claims and the denial of attorney fees.

Brumfield v. IBG LLC (Precedential Opinion)

Trading Technologies International, Inc. (TT)—whose successor is the plaintiff-appellant named in the caption— brought this action against IBG LLC and its subsidiary Interactive Brokers LLC (together, IBG) in 2010 in the Northern District of Illinois, alleging infringement of several TT-owned patents.  Four of TT’s patents are at issue in this appeal: U.S. Patent Nos. 6,766,304 (issued July 20, 2004); 6,772,132 (issued August 3, 2004); 7,676,411 (issued March 9, 2010); and 7,813,996 (issued October 12, 2010).  The district court held the asserted claims of the ’411 and ’996 patents invalid, and a jury found the asserted claims of the ’304 and ’132 patents infringed (and not proved invalid for obviousness) and awarded $6,610,985 in damages, resulting in the final judgment now before us.

Only TT, not IBG, appeals.  TT challenges three rulings of the district court.  First, on cross-motions for summary judgment, the district court held that the asserted claims of the ’411 and ’996 patents were invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101, while rejecting the § 101 challenge to the asserted claims of the ’304 and ’132 patents (with the resulting trial limited to a subset of such claims).  Trading Technologies International, Inc. v. IBG, LLC, No. 10 C 715, 2021 WL 2473809, at *5, *7 (N.D. Ill. June 17, 2021) (101 Opinion).  Second, the district court, acting under Federal Rule of Evidence 702, excluded one of the damages theories, concerning foreign activities, proposed by TT’s damages expert.  Trading Technologies International, Inc. v. IBG LLC, No. 10 C 715, 2021 WL 5038754, at *2 (N.D. Ill. July 23, 2021) (FRE 702 Opinion).  Third, the district court denied TT’s post-verdict motion for a new trial on damages, a motion in which TT alleged that IBG had misrepresented, by statement or omission, how it was calculating the damages figures it presented to the jury.  Brumfield, Trustee for Ascent Trust v. IB LLC, 586 F. Supp. 3d 827, 830–31 (N.D. Ill. 2022) (Post-Trial Opinion)

We reject TT’s challenges.  We therefore affirm.

Virtek Vision International ULC v. Assembly Guidance Systems, Inc. (Precedential Opinion)

Virtek Vision International ULC (Virtek) appeals an inter partes review final written decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board holding claims 1, 2, 5, 7, and 10–13 of U.S. Patent No. 10,052,734 are unpatentable.  Assembly Guidance Systems, Inc. d/b/a Aligned Vision (Aligned Vision) cross-appeals the Board’s holding that Aligned Vision failed to prove claims 3, 4, 6, 8, and 9 of the ’734 patent are unpatentable.  We reverse as to the appeal and affirm as to the cross-appeal. 

Thomas v. McDonough (Precedential Opinion)

Mr. Orville Thomas appeals a decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.  The Veterans Court affirmed the Board of Veterans’ Appeals’ denial of an earlier effective date for Mr. Thomas’ claim of service connection for post-traumatic stress disorder.  Because the Veterans Court applied an improper legal standard when reviewing the Board’s decision, we vacate and remand.

Rady v. Boston Consulting Group, Inc. (Nonprecedential Opinion)

Max A. Rady appeals an order of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissing his patent infringement claim after concluding that his asserted patent claimed ineligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101.  For the reasons discussed below, we affirm.

BCC-UIProjects-ZAAZTC Team JV v. Secretary of the Army (Nonprecedential Opinion)

BCC-UIProjects-ZAAZTC Team JV (“B-U-Z”)1 appeals an Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals (“Board”) decision dismissing B-U-Z’s Board appeal.  For the reasons below, we affirm.