Argument Recap / Panel Activity

Argument Recap– LaBonte v. United States

Last month, the court heard oral argument in LaBonte v. United States, a veterans case where LaBonte is challenging a “Court of Federal Claims decision that military correction boards established under 10 U.S.C. § 1552 may not grant disability retirement to service members whose ‘Certificate of Release or Discharge From Active Duty,’ a standard separation document known as a ‘DD-214’ form, contains reference to a court martial.” Two amicus briefs were filed in support of the plaintiff-appellant, LaBonte, one by Military Law Practitioners and another a joint brief by the National Veterans Legal Services Program and Protect Our Defenders. Judges Chen, Schall, and Stoll heard the argument. This is our argument recap.

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Argument Recap / Panel Activity

Argument Recap – Centripetal Networks, Inc. v. Cisco Systems, Inc.

Last month, the court heard oral argument in Centripetal Networks, Inc. v. Cisco Systems, Inc., in which Cisco appeals a finding that it infringed four patents held by Centripetal Networks, resulting in a judgement of over $2.75 billion. An amicus brief was filed by High Tech Inventors Alliance in support of Cisco. Before oral argument, the Federal Circuit issued an order limiting the scope of the oral argument to “the question whether the judgment should be vacated because the district court judge was required to recuse himself from the matter under 28 U.S.C. § 455.” Judges Dyk, Taranto, and Cunningham heard the argument. This is our argument recap.

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Argument Recap / Panel Activity

Argument Recap – Skaar v. McDonough

Earlier this month, the court heard oral argument in Skaar v. McDonough, in which McDonough, the Director of Veterans Affairs, appeals a decision by the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims certifying a class action of veterans. Skaar cross-appeals to argue the court misinterpreted equitable tolling and waiver standards to exclude from the certified class veterans who had not timely appealed past agency decisions. Amicus briefs in support of Skaar were filed by the National Veterans Legal Services Program and 15 Administrative Law, Civil Procedure, and Federal Courts Professors. Judges Moore, Newman, and Hughes heard the argument. This is our argument recap.

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Panel Activity / Petitions

Recent En Banc Activity

Here is an update on recent en banc activity at the Federal Circuit in patent cases. The court received four new responses to petitions raising questions related to choice of law, forum selection clauses, and injunctive relief; the process and standard for determining indefiniteness; and the standard for granting a motion to seal court records. The court also denied two petitions raising questions related to the on sale bar and claim construction. Here are the details.

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Opinions / Panel Activity

Opinion Summary – Wolfe v. McDonough

In March, the Federal Circuit issued its opinion in Wolfe v. McDonough, a case we have been following because it attracted an amicus brief. In this case, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs asked the Federal Circuit to reverse the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, which “granted a petition for a writ of mandamus filed by Wolfe on behalf of a class of claimants to invalidate 38 C.F.R. § 17.1005(a)(5) and require [the Department of Veterans Affairs] to readjudicate and grant claims for reimbursement of coinsurance and deductibles.” In a unanimous opinion authored by Judge Dyk and joined by Judges Reyna and Stoll, the Federal Circuit reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. Here is our opinion summary.

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Court Week / Panel Activity

Court Week – What You Need To Know

This week is Court Week at the Federal Circuit, with hearings starting today. The Federal Circuit is providing access to live audio of each panel scheduled for argument via the Federal Circuit’s YouTube channel. In total, including a case set to be argued in two weeks, the court will convene 12 panels to consider about 58 cases. Of these 58 cases, the court will hear oral arguments in 41. Of these argued cases, three attracted amicus briefs: one patent case, one military records case, and one veterans case. Here’s what you need to know about these three cases.

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Opinions / Panel Activity

Opinion Summary – Monroe v. United States

On March 16, the Federal Circuit issued its opinion in Monroe v. United States, an Equal Access to Justice Act case we have been following because it attracted an amicus brief. On appeal from the United States Court of Federal Claims, the United States asked the Federal Circuit to overrule what it characterized as an abuse of discretion by the trial court in ordering it to pay the plaintiff’s attorneys’ fees and expenses. Monroe, for his part, maintained he “prevailed at each procedural stage of the litigation” and, as result, “a fully compensatory fee award was warranted.” The National Veterans Legal Services Program filed an amicus brief in support of Monroe. The Federal Circuit, however, agreed with the government and reversed the Court of Federal Claims. This is our opinion summary.

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Opinions / Panel Activity

Order Summary – In re Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.

On March 9, the Federal Circuit issued an order granting petitions for writs of mandamus in In re Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. and In re Hyundai Motor America, patent cases we have been following because they attracted amicus briefs. In the order, the Federal Circuit held that the Western District of Texas committed a clear abuse of discretion “for erroneously interpreting governing law and reaching a patently erroneous result” when that court denied motions to dismiss or transfer. Here is a summary of Federal Circuit’s order.

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Panel Activity

Update On Important Panel Activity

Here is this month’s update on activity in cases pending before panels of the Federal Circuit where the cases involve at least one amicus brief. We keep track of these cases in the “Other Cases” section of our blog. Today, with respect to these cases we highlight three opinions: the first in an Equal Access to Justice Act case, the second granting petitions seeking writs of mandamus challenging orders of the Western District of Texas regarding transfer motions, and the third in a trademark case. We also highlight a response brief filed in a patent case. Here are the details.

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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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