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

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Backertop Licensing LLC and Lori LaPray appealed the U.S. District Court of Delaware’s orders requiring LaPray to appear in-person for testimony regarding potential fraud and imposing monetary sanctions for her failure to appear. The District Court identified potential misconduct in numerous related patent cases involving IP Edge and Mavexar, which allegedly created shell LLCs, assigned patents for little consideration, and directed litigation without disclosing their ongoing rights. The court was concerned that this arrangement concealed the real parties in interest and potentially perpetrated fraud on the court.The District Court ordered LaPray, the sole owner of Backertop, to produce documents and appear in-person to address these concerns. LaPray moved to set aside the order, citing travel difficulties and requesting to appear telephonically, which the court denied. The court rescheduled the hearing to accommodate her schedule but maintained the requirement for in-person testimony to assess her credibility. LaPray did not attend the rescheduled hearing, leading the court to hold her in civil contempt and impose a daily fine until she appeared.The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reviewed the case. The court held that the District Court’s orders were within its inherent authority and not an abuse of discretion. The court found that Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 45, which limits the geographic range of subpoenas, did not apply to the court’s sua sponte orders. The court affirmed the District Court’s orders, emphasizing the necessity of in-person testimony to investigate potential misconduct and assess credibility. The monetary sanctions for LaPray’s failure to appear were also upheld. View "BACKERTOP LICENSING LLC v. CANARY CONNECT, INC. " on Justia Law

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The case involves a dispute over the distribution of interest associated with antidumping and countervailing duties under the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act of 2000 (CDSOA). Plaintiffs, who are affected domestic producers, argued that the United States Customs and Border Protection (Customs) unlawfully excluded delinquency interest from the distributions they were entitled to receive under the CDSOA. Customs had been distributing only interest charged on antidumping and countervailing duties at liquidation, as specified by 19 U.S.C. § 1677g, and not delinquency interest assessed under 19 U.S.C. § 1505(d).The United States Court of International Trade (CIT) initially dismissed claims related to distributions made more than two years before the complaints were filed, citing the statute of limitations. The CIT found that the Final Rule published by Customs in 2001 provided adequate notice of its decision to exclude delinquency interest. The CIT also denied plaintiffs' motions for reconsideration, maintaining that the Final Rule sufficiently informed the public of Customs' decision. Finally, the CIT denied plaintiffs' motions for judgment on the agency record, holding that the CDSOA did not require Customs to distribute delinquency interest.The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reviewed the case and affirmed the CIT's decisions. The Federal Circuit held that the Final Rule provided adequate notice of Customs' decision to exclude delinquency interest, thus supporting the CIT's dismissal of claims outside the two-year statutory period. The court also concluded that the CDSOA unambiguously excludes delinquency interest from distributions to affected producers. Therefore, the court affirmed the CIT's judgment in favor of the government, upholding Customs' practice of excluding delinquency interest from CDSOA distributions. View "ADEE HONEY FARMS v. US " on Justia Law

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Natera, Inc. and NeoGenomics Laboratories, Inc. are healthcare companies in the oncology testing industry. Natera owns two patents, U.S. Patent No. 11,519,035 and U.S. Patent No. 11,530,454, which cover methods for amplifying and sequencing DNA to detect cancer relapse. Natera uses these methods in its Signatera product, while NeoGenomics offers a competing product called RaDaR. Natera sued NeoGenomics, alleging that RaDaR infringed its patents and sought a preliminary injunction to stop NeoGenomics from using, selling, or promoting RaDaR.The United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina granted the preliminary injunction, finding that Natera was likely to succeed on the merits of its infringement claim for the ’035 patent. The court did not address the ’454 patent. The district court determined that Natera demonstrated a likelihood of irreparable harm due to direct competition in a two-player market, and that the balance of equities and public interest favored the injunction. The injunction was tailored to allow ongoing use of RaDaR for existing patients and certain clinical trials.The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reviewed the district court’s decision. The Federal Circuit affirmed the preliminary injunction, agreeing that Natera showed a likelihood of success on the merits and that NeoGenomics did not raise a substantial question of validity. The court found no error in the district court’s handling of claim construction, irreparable harm analysis, or public interest considerations. The Federal Circuit concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion in granting the preliminary injunction. View "Natera, Inc. v. NeoGenomics Laboratories, Inc." on Justia Law

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Charles J. Love, Jr. appealed a decision regarding the reduction of his disability rating for service-connected prostate cancer. Initially rated at 100% due to active cancer, his rating was reduced to 20% after his cancer went into remission. Love argued that the procedural protections of 38 C.F.R. § 3.344, which require certain steps before reducing long-standing disability ratings, should apply to his case.The Veterans Benefits Administration Regional Office (RO) proposed the reduction in February 2019, which was finalized in September 2019. Love appealed to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, which upheld the RO’s decision. He then appealed to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, arguing that the reduction was improper without following § 3.344. The Veterans Court, referencing its decision in Foster v. McDonough, ruled that the procedural protections of § 3.344 did not apply to disabilities rated under diagnostic code 7528 for prostate cancer, as the diagnostic code itself provided specific procedures for rating changes.The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reviewed the case. The court agreed with the Veterans Court, holding that the specific procedures outlined in diagnostic code 7528 for prostate cancer, which include a mandatory VA examination six months after treatment cessation, supersede the general procedural protections of § 3.344. The court found that applying § 3.344 would create conflicting standards and redundancy. Therefore, the reduction of Love’s rating was affirmed as proper under the specific guidelines of diagnostic code 7528. The court affirmed the decision of the Veterans Court, concluding that the procedural protections of § 3.344 do not apply to diagnostic code 7528. View "Love v. McDonough" on Justia Law

Posted in: Military Law
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International Development Solutions, LLC (IDS), a security service contractor, entered into a contract with the Department of State for the provision of personal protection services in Afghanistan. IDS was initially a joint venture between ACADEMI Training Center, Inc. (ATCI) and Kaseman, LLC. However, ATCI later purchased all of Kaseman, LLC’s membership interest in IDS, making IDS a sole member LLC with ATCI as the sole member and owner. IDS then sold and transferred all of its interests in all of its contracts, subcontracts, and all property and assets to ATCI. ATCI requested the State to recognize it as the successor-in-interest to IDS’s contract through a formal novation agreement, but the State denied the request.The Civilian Board of Contract Appeals denied IDS’s consolidated appeal seeking cost-reimbursement of tax payments made by related corporate entities. The Board found no entitlement to reimbursement as IDS did not present evidence that tax amounts paid were costs incurred by IDS, the contractor, rather than by entities higher in IDS’s ownership chain.The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the Board’s decision. The court found substantial evidence supporting the Board’s finding that IDS did not present evidence that tax amounts paid were costs incurred by IDS, the contractor, rather than by entities higher in IDS’s ownership chain. Therefore, IDS was not entitled to reimbursement. View "INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT SOLUTIONS, LLC v. SECRETARY OF STATE " on Justia Law

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The case involves Amarin Pharma, Inc., Amarin Pharmaceuticals Ireland Limited, and Mochida Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (collectively, “Amarin”) and Hikma Pharmaceuticals USA Inc. and Hikma Pharmaceuticals PLC (collectively, “Hikma”). Amarin markets and sells icosapent ethyl, an ethyl ester of an omega-3 fatty acid commonly found in fish oils, under the brand name Vascepa®. In 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) approved Vascepa for the treatment of severe hypertriglyceridemia. In 2019, following additional research and clinical trials, the FDA approved Vascepa for a second use: as a treatment to reduce cardiovascular risk in patients having blood triglyceride levels of at least 150 mg/dL.In the United States District Court for the District of Delaware, Hikma moved to dismiss Amarin’s complaint for failure to state a claim. The court granted Hikma’s motion, concluding that Amarin’s allegations against Hikma did not plausibly state a claim for induced infringement.The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed the decision of the district court. The court held that Amarin had plausibly pleaded that Hikma had induced infringement of the asserted patents. The court noted that the case was not a traditional Hatch-Waxman case or a section viii case, but rather a run-of-the-mill induced infringement case arising under 35 U.S.C. § 271(b). The court concluded that the totality of the allegations, taken as true, plausibly plead that Hikma “actively” induced healthcare providers’ direct infringement. View "AMARIN PHARMA, INC. v. HIKMA PHARMACEUTICALS USA INC. " on Justia Law

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The case revolves around Ravi Teja, an Indian citizen, who paid thousands of dollars to enroll at the "University of Farmington," expecting to take classes. Unbeknownst to him, the University was a fictitious entity created by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as part of an undercover operation to target fraud involving student visas. When the operation came to light, the government neither provided the education Ravi had paid for nor refunded his money. Ravi filed a lawsuit against the United States in the United States Court of Federal Claims, alleging a breach of contract and an accompanying breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.The United States Court of Federal Claims dismissed Ravi's complaint for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction, without addressing other issues. The court reasoned that its jurisdiction under the Tucker Act does not extend to contracts entered into by the government when acting as a sovereign unless those contracts unmistakably subject the government to damages in the event of breach. The court concluded that the government was acting in its sovereign capacity as it entered into the alleged contract in furtherance of an undercover law-enforcement operation, and that the alleged contract did not unmistakably subject the government to damages in the event of breach.On appeal, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed the Claims Court’s dismissal and remanded the case for further proceedings. The Appeals Court concluded that the Claims Court had jurisdiction pursuant to the Tucker Act over the agreement alleged by Ravi. The court disagreed with the Claims Court's interpretation of the Tucker Act, stating that the contract in question did not concern what was promised to happen or not to happen in a different proceeding in another adjudicatory forum, and thus did not fall into the narrow exception carved out by precedent. The court remanded the case for further proceedings, noting that other grounds not reached by the Claims Court but raised by the government as alternative bases to affirm warranted further exploration. View "RAVI v. US " on Justia Law

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The case involves Hahnenkamm, LLC and the United States Forest Service. Hahnenkamm sold a parcel of land to the Forest Service. The purchase price was based on an appraisal that was supposed to comply with the Uniform Appraisal Standards for Federal Land Acquisitions, also known as the Yellow Book. Hahnenkamm later sued the Forest Service, claiming that the appraisal did not comply with the Yellow Book and was not independent, thus breaching the purchase agreement.The United States Court of Federal Claims found in favor of Hahnenkamm, ruling that the Forest Service had breached the agreement by not supporting the purchase price with an independent, Yellow Book-compliant appraisal. The court rejected the government's defenses of waiver and equitable estoppel and awarded damages to Hahnenkamm.The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit partially reversed the lower court's decision. The appellate court found that Hahnenkamm could not have reasonably relied on the contractual representation that the appraisal was independent. However, the court remanded the case back to the lower court for further proceedings to determine whether Hahnenkamm reasonably relied on the representation that the appraisal was Yellow Book-compliant. The court also remanded the lower court's rejection of the equitable estoppel defense.On cross-appeal, Hahnenkamm argued that the lower court erred in its damages determination. The appellate court affirmed the lower court's damages determination, finding no abuse of discretion in its analysis. View "HAHNENKAMM, LLC v. US " on Justia Law

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The case involves an appeal by Marmen Inc., Marmen Énergie Inc., Marmen Energy Co., the Government of Québec, and the Government of Canada against a decision by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The Department of Commerce had imposed countervailing duties on imports of certain utility scale wind towers from Canada, arguing that the Canadian government had provided illegal subsidies to the producers and exporters of these towers.The case was initially reviewed by the United States Court of International Trade, which upheld the Department of Commerce's decision. The appellants then appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.The appellants argued that the Department of Commerce had erred in its assessment of three government programs and its computation of the sales denominator used to calculate the subsidy rate. They contended that the subsidy rate should have been de minimis, meaning it was too trivial or minor to merit consideration.The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the judgment of the U.S. Court of International Trade, ruling that the Department of Commerce's determination was supported by substantial evidence and was in accordance with the law. The court rejected the appellants' arguments, finding that the Department of Commerce had reasonably determined that the auditor's adjustment was unreliable, and that the three subsidy programs at issue did provide countervailable subsidies. View "GOVERNMENT OF QUEBEC v. US " on Justia Law

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The case involves Beteiro, LLC, which owns several patents related to facilitating gaming or gambling activities at a remote location. The patents disclose an invention that allows a user to participate in live gaming or gambling activity via a user communication device, even if the user is not in the same location as the gaming venue. Beteiro filed multiple patent infringement cases against various companies, alleging that they infringe certain claims of the patents by providing gambling and event wagering services.The United States District Court for the District of New Jersey dismissed Beteiro's cases for failure to state a claim based on the subject matter ineligibility of the patent claims. The court found that the claims were directed to an abstract idea and did not contain an inventive concept. Beteiro appealed the decision.The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court's decision. The court agreed that Beteiro's claims were directed to the abstract idea of exchanging information concerning a bet and allowing or disallowing the bet based on where the user is located. The court also found that the claims did not provide an inventive concept because they achieved the abstract steps using several generic computers. The court concluded that Beteiro's claims amounted to nothing more than the practice of an abstract idea using conventional computer equipment, including GPS on a mobile phone, which are not eligible for patent under current Section 101 jurisprudence. View "BETEIRO, LLC v. DRAFTKINGS INC. " on Justia Law