Justia U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

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Wanxiang is a U.S. importer for Wanxiang Group, an automotive parts manufacturing company headquartered in China. In 1994-2001, Group and Wanxiang IE participated in Department of Commerce administrative reviews that covered entries of wheel hub assemblies that were subject to a 1987 antidumping duty order. Group and IE were assigned company-specific antidumping duty rates of zero percent. Wanxiang Q did not receive a company-specific antidumping duty rate because it did not participate in the reviews. Following a 2012 audit of Wangxiang, Customs found that some of the audited entries were imports from Q, subject to the China country-wide rate of 92.84%, and that, based on the sampling results, Wanxiang had underpaid dumping duties. In 2019, Customs issued a Penalty Notice.Wanxiang did not protest under 19 U.S.C. 1514 and has not made any payment but filed a complaint before the Trade Court, asserting jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. 1581(i)(2) and (4). The court dismissed, concluding that it lacked “residual” jurisdiction because relief could have been available under a section 1581(c) action. Wangxiang has not shown that such relief would have been manifestly inadequate. The Federal Circuit affirmed. Wanxiang could have challenged the assessments by a protest under 19 U.S.C. 1514 and, if unsuccessful, by appealing to the Trade Court under 1581(a). Alternatively, Wanxiang could have initiated a test shipment and sought, as a new shipper, an administrative review, during which it could have argued the issues it raised in its complaint; the results of that review could have been challenged under 19 U.S.C. 1516a, invoking Trade Court jurisdiction under 1581(c). View "Wanxiang America Corp. v. United States" on Justia Law

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Lubby’s patent is titled “Personal Vaporizer.” “Personal vaporizers are handheld devices that vaporize a vaporizing medium such as a liquid solution or a wax.” The patent relates to personal vaporizers that “will resist leaking, particularly during periods of nonuse.” Lubby and Vaporous Technologies, a nonexclusive licensee of the patent, sued Chung for infringement. The district court found Chung liable and awarded damages of $863,936.10.The Federal Circuit affirmed in part. There was evidence to support the jury’s verdict that Chung directly infringed the patent but the district court erred in awarding damages for the sales of infringing products before the commencement of the suit, which is the date Chung received actual notice of the patent under 35 U.S.C. 287. The court remanded for a new trial to determine the number of infringing products sold after the commencement of the suit and for the determination of a reasonable royalty rate for the sale of these units. View "Lubby Holdings LLC v. Chung" on Justia Law

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Epinephrine (adrenaline), a hormone that has been on the market since approximately 1938, is used for various medical purposes. It degrades by racemization and oxidation. A 1986 publication taught that “there is an optimum pH at which racemization and oxidation can be balanced to minimize loss of intact drug by these two routes.” In 2012, Belcher submitted New Drug Application (NDA) for a 1 mg/mL injectable l-epinephrine formulation. The NDA was literature-based; Belcher did not perform any studies on its epinephrine formulation. Belcher responded to FDA inquiries concerning pH levels and racemization. In 2014, Belcher filed an application entitled “More Potent and Less Toxic Formulations of Epinephrine and Methods of Medical Use,” resulting in the 197. Hospira then submitted an NDA seeking approval of a 0.1 mg/mL injectable l-epinephrine formulation, including a Paragraph IV certification (21 U.S.C. 355(b)(2)(A)(iv)) alleging that the patent’s claims are invalid, unenforceable, and/or not infringed. Belcher sued Hospira for infringement.The Federal Circuit affirmed a finding that the patent was unenforceable for inequitable conduct. Belcher’s Chief Science Officer withheld material information about the pH range and the impurity levels from the Patent and Trademark Office. Belcher’s alleged critical improvement over the prior art was already within the public domain, just not before the examiner. Belcher’s officer acted with intent to deceive. View "Belcher Pharmaceuticals, LLC v. Hospira, Inc." on Justia Law

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Schiedmayer makes and sells celestas, keyboard instruments that resemble small pianos. and is the successor to a line of German companies that have sold keyboard musical instruments under the Schiedmayer name for nearly 300 years. In 1980, Georg Schiedmayer, the owner of Schiedmayer & Soehne, stopped making pianos and renamed the company Schiedmayer GmbH, then briefly entered into a joint venture with Ibach. The “Schiedmayer” trademark was not sold, assigned, or otherwise transferred to Ibach or any other entity. but Ibach entered into an agreement with Kawai under which Kawai produced pianos carrying the Schiedmayer name. Georg’s widow, Elianne, became the sole owner of Schiedmayer, and, in 1995, founded a new company that became Schiedmayer Celesta.In 2002, the owner of Piano Factory retail outlets, believing that the “Schiedmayer” mark had been abandoned for pianos, acquired the domain name “schiedmayer.com.” The Patent and Trademark Office issued a registration for the “Schiedmaryer” mark in 2007. Piano Factory assigned the registration to Sweet 16, which purchased “no-name” pianos from China and affixed labels on them, including the Schiedmayer label. Schiedmayer Celesta filed a cancellation petition with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, citing the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1052(a). The Federal Circuit affirmed the cancellation of the mark. All of the relevant factors—similarity of the goods, recognition among particular consumers, and intent in using the mark—support the Board’s finding that the name was sufficiently well known among consumers of Sweet 16’s products that a connection with Schiedmayer would be presumed. View "Piano Factory Group, Inc. v. Schiedmayer Celesta GmbH" on Justia Law

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In an antidumping duty investigation on U.S. imports of cold-drawn mechanical tubing from India, the Department of Commerce rejected Goodluck’s submission of supplemental data and relied on “adverse facts available” under 19 U.S.C. 1677e(b) for its less-than-fair-value analysis, which resulted in an antidumping margin of 33.8% ad valorem applicable to Goodluck’s imports. The Court of International Trade agreed with Goodluck that its submission was a permissible correction of a minor clerical error and that it was entitled to submit supplemental information up to the day of verification. Commerce, under protest, conducted a new less-than-fair-value analysis resulting in a zero-percent antidumping margin for Goodluck, which theTrade Court affirmed.The Federal Circuit reversed. Commerce’s initial determination—rejecting Goodluck’s supplemental submission on grounds that it constituted new factual information and not a minor or clerical correction of the record, and that the submission was unverifiable as it was submitted on the eve of verification—was supported by substantial evidence and not otherwise contrary to law. Goodluck’s revisions were a systemic change to the entire reported database. The revisions were not singular, such as a missing word or an error in arithmetic. View "Goodluck India Ltd. v. United States" on Justia Law

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T cells, white blood cells that contribute to the immune response, have naturally occurring receptors on their surfaces that facilitate their attack on target cells (such as cancer cells) by recognizing and binding an antigen, i.e., a structure on a target cell’s surface. Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy involves isolating a patient’s T cells; reprogramming those T cells to produce a specific, targeted receptor (a CAR) on each T cell’s surface; and infusing the patient with the reprogrammed cells. Juno’s patent relates to a nucleic acid polymer encoding a three-part CAR for a T cell. It claims priority to a provisional application filed in 2002, at “the birth of the CART field.” Kite’s YESCARTA® is a “therapy in which a patient’s T cells are engineered to express a [CAR] to target the antigen CD19, a protein expressed on the cell surface of B-cell lymphomas and leukemias, and redirect the T cells to kill cancer cells.”Juno sued, alleging infringement. The district court held that the claims were not invalid for lack of written description or enablement, the patent’s certificate of correction was not invalid, and Juno was entitled to $1,200,322,551.50 in damages. The Federal Circuit reversed. No reasonable jury could find the patent’s written description sufficiently demonstrates that the inventors possessed the full scope of the claimed invention. View "Juno Therapeutics, Inc v. Kite Pharma, Inc." on Justia Law

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USR sued Apple for infringement of patents otherwise directed to similar technology, securing electronic payment transactions. The patents “address the need for technology that allows consumers to conveniently make payment-card [e.g., credit card] transactions without a magnetic-stripe reader and with a high degree of security.”The district court found all claims of four asserted patents ineligible under 35 U.S.C. 101. The Federal Circuit affirmed. All claims of the asserted patents are directed to an abstract idea and contain no additional elements that transform them into a patent-eligible application of the abstract idea. Applying the Supreme Court’s “Alice” analysis, the court stated that sending data to a third party as opposed to the merchant is an abstract idea and cannot serve as an inventive concept, as is authenticating a user using conventional tools and generating and transmitting that authentication—without “improv[ing] any underlying technology.” Nothing in the claims is directed to a new authentication technique; rather, the claims are directed to combining longstanding, known authentication techniques to yield expected additional amounts of security. View "Universal Secure Registry LLC v. Apple Inc." on Justia Law

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MLC sued Micron for infringing certain claims of a patent, titled “Electrically Alterable Non-Volatile Memory with N-bits Per Cell,” describing methods of programming multi-level cells. The district court excluded certain opinions of MLC’s damages expert.On interlocutory appeal, the Federal Circuit affirmed orders precluding MLC’s damages expert from characterizing certain license agreements as reflecting a 0.25% royalty, opining on a reasonable royalty rate when MLC failed to produce key documents and information directed to its damages theory when requested prior to expert discovery, and opining on the royalty base and royalty rate where the expert failed to apportion for non-patented features. View "MLC Intellectual Property, LLC v. Micron Technology, Inc." on Justia Law

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In 2013, Bullock, a civilian employed by the Army, received a formal letter of reprimand from her supervisor. Bullock filed an EEO claim alleging sex discrimination and retaliation. In proceedings before the EEOC’s mediation program, Bullock was represented by her attorney, Elliott; the Army was represented by its management official Shipley, and attorney Lynch. According to Bullock, the parties reached agreement as to seven non-monetary demands on July 29 and reached an oral agreement regarding her monetary demands on August 27, 2015. The mediating administrative judge sent an email to the parties asking for the “agency’s understanding of the provisions of the settlement agreement” and noting that, “[o]nce we confirm that the parties are in complete agreement, the agency can begin work on the written settlement agreement.”. No written settlement agreement was executed. In September, the Army “rescinded its settlement offer.” Bullock continued to press her claims before the EEOC for a year, then filed a breach of contract claim regarding an oral settlement agreement.The Federal Circuit reversed the dismissal of the complaint, rejecting an argument that EEOC and Army regulations, requiring that settlement agreements be in writing, preclude enforcement of oral settlement agreements. The court remanded for a determination of whether the representative of the Army had the authority to enter a settlement agreement and whether the parties actually reached an agreement. View "Bullock v. United States" on Justia Law

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DET sued Google for infringing its “Tab Patents,” which are directed to systems and methods for displaying and navigating three-dimensional electronic spreadsheets by implementing user-customizable “notebook tabs” on the spreadsheet interface. In 2018, the Federal Circuit reversed a holding that the claims were patent ineligible. On remand, the district court granted Google summary judgment of noninfringement, premised on its construction of the term “three-dimensional spreadsheet” recited in the preamble of the asserted claims. The Federal Circuit affirmed, holding that the preamble is limiting and adopting the district court’s construction of that term. DET did not argue that the accused product infringes under the district court’s construction. View "Data Engine Technologies LLC v. Google LLC" on Justia Law