This morning the Supreme Court agreed with the Federal Circuit that the statutory authority given to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board violates the Appointments Clause. The Supreme Court, however, disagreed with the Federal Circuit as to the appropriate remedy given this violation. According to the Supreme Court, both the constitutional violation and the appropriate remedy relate to the lack of statutory authority for the Director of the USPTO, a principal officer of the United States nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate, to decide whether to grant rehearing with respect to the underlying inter partes review proceeding. Here is a brief summary of the Court’s holding in United States v. Arthrex, Inc.; Arthrex, Inc. v. Smith & Nephew, Inc.; and Smith & Nephew, Inc. v. Arthrex, Inc., along with language from the Court’s controlling opinion.
Here is an update on recent activity at the Supreme Court in cases decided by the Federal Circuit. As for granted cases, we are still waiting for the Supreme Court to issue opinions in the two pending patent cases. As for petition cases, three new petitions were filed in patent, tax, and pro se cases; one petitioner filed a reply brief in a patent case; one respondent submitted its waiver of right to respond in a pro se case; and the Court dismissed one patent case and denied the petitions in two additional patent cases.
Here are the details.
Here is an update on recent activity at the Supreme Court in cases decided by the Federal Circuit. As for granted cases, we are still waiting for the Court to issue opinions in the two pending patent cases. As for petitions, a new petition was filed in a pro se veterans case; five petitioners filed reply briefs in cases presenting questions related to Tucker Act, patent, and takings law; one petitioner filed a motion to dismiss in a patent case; and the Court denied five petitions in cases involving patent, contracts, and veterans law.
Here are the details.
Here is an update on recent activity at the Supreme Court in cases decided by the Federal Circuit. As for granted cases, we are still waiting for the Court to issue opinions in the two pending patent cases. As for petitions, one new petition was filed in a patent case raising an Appointments Clause challenge; one respondent filed a brief in opposition to a petition raising questions related to an inmate’s right to assert patent infringement; the government submitted a waiver of its right to respond to a petition in a pro se case; and the Court requested a response to a petition raising questions related to preclusion. Additionally, four petitioners filed reply briefs in cases presenting questions related to the Federal Circuit’s jurisdiction, the Appointments Clause, and retroactivity in agency adjudication.
Here are the details.
- NYIPLA Amicus Brief in Ericsson v. Samsung Advocates the Adjudication of U.S. Patent Rights by U.S. Courts – The New York Intellectual Property Law Association (NYIPLA) recently submitted an amicus brief urging the Federal Circuit to balance the interests of the U.S. in resolving domestic patent protection against the rule of comity.
- Vivint Patent Ruling Upheld Over Belated Appointments Argument – The Federal Circuit ruled that Vivint forfeited the constitutional arguments from Arthrex when it failed to raise such arguments on appeal, even though Arthrex had not yet been issued at the time of the appeal.
- Banks Face Lawsuit ‘Frenzy’ After Business Patent Reviews End – In the last eight months, nearly three times as many patent suits involving financial services patents have been filed against banks and e-commerce companies after the PTO’s covered business method review program expired last September.
Here’s the latest.
This blog post provides a brief summary of four of the most significant patent cases decided by the Federal Circuit last year. It covers cases concerning assignor estoppel, transfer, venue, and the application of the Appointments Clause of the U.S. Constitution to administrative patent judges.
Guest Post by Kristen Osenga
In any given year, the Federal Circuit covers a wide spectrum of issues in patent law, and 2020 was no different. Of course, a lot about 2020 was different — including seeing the Court hold (and now livestream) telephonic arguments — but most of the patent cases decided were similar in type to other years . . . a little patent-eligible subject matter, a little jurisdiction and venue, a case about infringement of standard essential patents, and a bit of deciding what the Patent Trial and Appeal Board can and cannot do. There were no real blockbuster cases in 2020 (other than maybe the Arthrex denial of rehearing, more on that later). This could be due to the pandemic, or maybe it is a sign that patent law is settling in for a bit. Of course, that does not mean the law has settled in the right place, but that is a different issue for a different day.
For today, a few cases are worth highlighting from the Federal Circuit’s 2020 patent opinions. To be clear, this is not an exhaustive review, but rather simply a short selection noting some of the more important patent cases decided last year.
- U.S. v. Arthrex: Is Historical Practice of the USPTO Relevant? – One factor that the Supreme Court may consider in determining the appropriate remedy if necessary for the appointment of administrative patent judges is the historical practice of the USPTO.
- Apple Faces Dubious Federal Circuit on Patent Ownership Argument – Judges Chen and Linn of the Federal Circuit seemed to doubt the interpretation of the contract language that Apple is relying on to challenge Omni MedSci’s ownership of the allegedly infringed patents.
- Federal Circuit on TM Licensing: We’re Going to Enforce the Terms – The Federal Circuit held that the Army properly refused Authentic Apparel’s proposal to make certain Army-branded items, including the expansion of a clothing line featuring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Here’s the latest.
On Monday, March 1, 2021, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the closely-watched patent case, United States v. Arthrex. As we previewed a couple days prior to argument, two main issues were considered by the Court. First, for purposes of the Appointments Clause, whether administrative patent judges (APJs) of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) are principal or inferior officers. And second, if APJs are indeed principal officers, whether the Federal Circuit properly cured any Appointments Clause defect through the remedy it provided. Here are the details.
On Monday, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a much-anticipated patent case, United States v. Arthrex, Inc. The first issue for consideration by the Court is whether, for purposes of the Appointments Clause, administrative patent judges of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board are principal or inferior officers. The second issue is, if administrative patent judges are indeed principal officers, whether the Federal Circuit properly cured any Appointments Clause defect through the remedy it provided. This is our argument preview.