Opinions

Opinions & Orders – March 14, 2022

This morning the Federal Circuit issued a precedential opinion in a patent case appealed from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. The court also issued a nonprecedential opinion in a veterans case appealed from the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. Finally, the court issued a Rule 36 judgment. Here are the introductions to the opinions and a link to the Rule 36 judgment.

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Opinions / Panel Activity

Opinion Summary – In re Elster

On February 24, the Federal Circuit issued its opinion in In re Elster, a case we have been following because it attracted an amicus brief. On appeal from the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s rejection of a trademark registration, Elster argued the rejection violated of the Constitution’s First Amendment. In particular, Elster faulted section 2(c) of the Lanham Act, which recites that “[n]o trademark by which the goods of the applicant may be distinguished from the goods of others shall be refused registration on the principal register on account of its nature unless it . . . [c]onsists of or comprises a name, portrait, or signature identifying a particular living individual except by his written consent . . . .” The United States argued that section 2(c) is constitutionally legal and applied correctly in this case. The Federal Circuit, however, found section 2(c) unconstitutional as applied here. This is our opinion summary.

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Opinions

Opinions & Orders – March 11, 2022

This morning the Federal Circuit issued a precedential opinion in a trade case appealed from the Court of International Trade. The Federal Circuit also issued two nonprecedential opinions. The first comes in an employment case appealed from the Merit Systems Protection Board, while the second comes in a patent case appealed from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. Finally, the court issued five Rule 36 judgments. Here are the introductions to the opinions and links to the Rule 36 judgments.

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Opinions / Panel Activity

Opinion Summary – Arrowood Indemnity Co. v. United States

On February 22, the Federal Circuit issued its opinion in Arrowood Indemnity Co. v. United States, Cacciapalle v. United States, Owl Creek Asia I, L.P. v. United States, and Fairholme Funds, Inc. v. United States, cases that attracted amicus briefs. In these cases, the plaintiffs asserted claims at the Court of Federal Claims based on government actions related to the 2008 financial crisis and ownership of shares of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. As explained by the Court of Federal Claims in one of the cases, the “plaintiffs seek the return of money illegally exacted, damages for breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty, and compensation for a taking pursuant to the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.” The Court of Federal Claims, however, dismissed these claims, finding it “lacks jurisdiction to entertain their fiduciary duty and implied-in-fact-contract claims, and plaintiffs lack standing to pursue any of their claims.” The plaintiffs appealed to the Federal Circuit, challenging the lower court’s holdings. The Federal Circuit consolidated these cases and issued an opinion affirming in part and reversing in part. This is our opinion summary.

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Opinions

Opinions & Orders – March 10, 2022

This morning the Federal Circuit issued a precedential opinion in a patent case appealed from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. The court also issued a nonprecedential opinion in a veterans case appealed from the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. Finally, the court issued six Rule 36 judgments. Here are the introductions to the opinions and links to the Rule 36 judgments.

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Opinions

Opinions & Orders – March 9, 2022

This morning the Federal Circuit issued a precedential opinion in a patent case appealed from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, a nonprecedential opinion in an employment case appealed from the Merit Systems Protection Board, and a precedential order granting two petitions for writ of mandamus against the Western District of Texas to dismiss or transfer cases. Finally, the Federal Circuit issued two Rule 36 judgments. Here are the introductions to the opinions and order and links to the Rule 36 judgments.

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Opinions / Panel Activity

Opinion Summary – Zaxcom, Inc. v. Lectrosonics, Inc.

In February, the Federal Circuit issued a nonprecedential opinion in Zaxcom, Inc. v. Lectrosonics, Inc., a patent case we have been following because it attracted amicus briefs. On appeal, the parties presented arguments concerning whether the Patent Trial and Appeal Board correctly construed certain claims, correctly found certain claim elements in the prior art, whether its analysis of secondary considerations of non-obviousness was correct, and whether the Board correctly found substitute claims to be patentable. Former Chief Judge Paul R. Michel filed an amicus brief encouraging the court to take the time to clarify the court’s law regarding the non-obviousness requirement, while US Inventor, Inc. also filed an amicus brief arguing the Board disregarded industry praise in finding that the claims were obvious. Judge Taranto authored a unanimous opinion on behalf of himself and Judges Lourie and Schall affirming the Board’s judgments. This is our opinion summary.

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Opinions

Opinions & Orders – March 8, 2022

This morning the Federal Circuit issued a precedential opinion in consolidated patent cases appealed from the International Trade Commission and Patent Trial and Appeal Board. The court also issued a nonprecedential opinion in a veterans case appealed from the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. Here are the introductions to the opinions.

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Opinions

Opinions & Orders – March 7, 2022

This morning the Federal Circuit issued a precedential opinion in a tax case appealed from the Court of Federal Claims. In the opinion, the Federal Circuit addressed a finding by the Court of Federal Claims that a lawsuit seeking a refund on paid taxes was not timely filed. Here is the introduction to the opinion.

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Opinions

Opinions & Orders – March 4, 2022

This morning the Federal Circuit released three nonprecedential opinions. Two come in patent cases appealed, respectively, from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board and the Northern District of Ohio. The third comes in a Tucker Act case appealed from the Court of Federal Claims. Notably, in this third case Judge Newman wrote a dissenting opinion. Here are the introductions to the opinions.

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