En Banc Activity / Petitions

Recent En Banc Activity

Here is an update on recent en banc activity at the Federal Circuit in patent cases. The court denied two petitions for rehearing raising questions related to the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, grounds for inter partes review, and the ability of a Federal Circuit panel to nullify or render advisory an earlier judgment of the court. Here are the details.

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En Banc 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 a response to a petition raising a question related to the ability of a Federal Circuit panel to nullify or render advisory an earlier judgment of the court. The court also received an amicus brief supporting rehearing in a case raising questions related to the Federal Vacancies Reform Act and the grounds for inter partes review. Finally, the court denied a petition in a case raising questions related to the court’s grant of a petition for a writ of mandamus to order transfer of a case from the Western District of Texas to the Northern District of California. Here are the details.

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News

Recent News on the Federal Circuit

Here is a report on recent news and commentary related to the Federal Circuit and its cases. Today’s report highlights:

  • an article noting how a “[f]ederal judge sitting atop mound of patent litigation loses perch with equitable-distribution order”;
  • another article addressing how “Netflix [won] attorneys’ fees for California litigation at Federal Circuit”;
  • a third article discussing how an engineer filed an amicus brief critiquing a Federal Circuit decision that would allegedly “let federal agencies ‘cut corners’ and render public accountability ‘superfluous.’”
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En Banc Activity / Petitions

Recent En Banc Activity

Here is an update on recent en banc activity at the Federal Circuit. In a pending en banc veterans case, the court received two amicus briefs in support of the appellee, a veteran. The court also received two new petitions raising questions related to obviousness-based inherency of claims, the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, and the grounds for inter partes review proceedings. Finally, the court denied two petitions for rehearing en banc raising questions related to means-plus-function limitations. Here are the details.

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News

Recent News on the Federal Circuit

Here is a report on recent news and commentary related to the Federal Circuit and its cases. Today’s report highlights:

  • an article explaining how the Supreme Court is the “only entity that appears positioned to provide . . . clarity” on patent eligibility;
  • another article discussing how the Federal Circuit affirmed the review power of the temporary head of the Patent and Trademark Office, “sparing the agency from potentially devastating consequences”; and
  • a third article addressing how the Federal Circuit reaffirmed that a patentee has “the burden to offer opposing evidence against the petitioner’s claim” in Patent Trial and Appeal Board proceedings.
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Opinions

Opinions & Order – May 27, 2022

This morning the Federal Circuit released a precedential opinion in Arthrex, Inc. v. Smith & Nephew, Inc., a patent case on remand from the Supreme Court. In its opinion, the Federal Circuit affirmed both a decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board finding claims unpatentable as anticipated and a denial of a request to review the Board’s decision, a denial decided by the Commissioner for Patents given vacancies in the positions of Director and Deputy Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Here is the introduction to the opinion.

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Opinions / Supreme Court Activity

Opinion Summary – United States v. Arthrex, Inc.

This past Monday, June 21, the Supreme Court decided United States v. Arthrex, Inc., Smith & Nephew, Inc. v. Arthrex, Inc., and Arthrex, Inc. v. Smith & Nephew, Inc. By a vote of five to four, the Court concluded that the statutory authority conferred upon the Patent Trial and Appeal Board to issue final decisions on behalf of the Executive Branch in inter partes review proceedings violates the Constitution’s Appointments Clause because the PTAB’s Administrative Patent Judges are not nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Given this violation, the Court voted seven to two to sever the unconstitutional portion of the patent statute, giving the Director of the Patent and Trademark Office, who is nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate, the power to review the PTAB’s decisions. Here is a summary of the Court’s opinions.

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Featured / Supreme Court Activity

Breaking News – Supreme Court Agrees PTAB’s Authority Violates Appointments Clause, Remands for USPTO Director to Determine Whether to Grant Rehearing

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.

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News

Recent News on the Federal Circuit

Here’s the latest.

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Featured / Symposia

Online Symposium: Prof. Osenga’s Top 2020 Federal Circuit Patent Decisions

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.

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