Justia Civil Procedure Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
Preston v. Nagel
Plaintiffs sued Nagel in Massachusetts Superior Court alleging 15 state-law claims. Nagel answered the complaint and filed 11 counterclaims under the Declaratory Judgment Act seeking declarations of non-infringement of several patents held by plaintiff Electromagnetics Corporation. Nagel also removed the case to the District of Massachusetts under 28 U.S.C. 1441, the general removal statute, and 28 U.S.C. 1454, the patent removal statute. The federal court remanded to state court, finding that it lacked subject-matter jurisdiction because plaintiffs’ state-law claims did not arise under federal law and Nagel’s patent counterclaims did not present a justiciable case or controversy under Article III. The Federal Circuit dismissed an appeal; 28 U.S.C. 1447(d) bars review of the district court’s decision to remand. To the extent the America Invents Act prefers that closely related state-law claims and patent-law counterclaims be heard together, it does not follow that the circuit courts have jurisdiction to review remand decisions that require such claims to be pursued in separate forums. “Absent a clear statutory command to the contrary, it is assumed that Congress is aware of the universality of th[e] practice of denying appellate review of remand orders when Congress creates a new ground for removal.” View "Preston v. Nagel" on Justia Law
Halo Eelectronics, Inc. v. Pulse Electronics, Inc.
A jury found that Pulse directly infringed Halo’s patents with products that it shipped into the U.S. and induced others to infringe those patents with products delivered outside the U.S. that ultimately were imported into the U.S. in finished products; it was highly probable that Pulse’s infringement was willful; and the Halo patents were not invalid. The jury awarded Halo $1.5 million in royalty damages. The court held that Pulse had not willfully infringed and taxed costs. Halo did not seek interest. The Federal Circuit affirmed that Pulse’s infringement was not willful. In June 2015, in the district court, Halo sought an accounting for supplemental damages and awards of interest. The Supreme Court subsequently held that the enhanced damages test applied by the Federal Circuit was inconsistent with 35 U.S.C. 284. On remand, the Federal Circuit vacated the unenhanced damages award with respect to products delivered in the U.S. and remanded. In the meantime, the district court awarded Halo prejudgment and post-judgment interest and supplemental damages for direct infringement. In November 2016, the court entered a stipulation of satisfaction of judgment for the $1.5 million damages award, including costs, supplemental damages, and post-judgment interest, expressly excluding prejudgment interest, enhanced damages, and attorney fees. The Federal Circuit dismissed an appeal for lack of jurisdiction. There is no final decision because the district court has not specified the means for determining the amount of prejudgment interest. View "Halo Eelectronics, Inc. v. Pulse Electronics, Inc." on Justia Law
Boomerang Tube LLC v. United States
Trade Court abused its discretion in waiving the exhaustion requirement in appeal of antidumping order. The Department Commerce initiated an investigation into whether oil country tubular goods (OCTGs) from Saudi Arabia and other countries were sold for less than fair value in the U.S. Commerce selected Duferco as the mandatory respondent; preliminarily found dumping; determined to treat Duferco and three affiliates as a single entity; and determined that Duferco is affiliated with JESCO, the producer of the OCTGs. Duferco owns 10 percent of JESCO. JESCO participated as a voluntary respondent. Commerce published its final determination, concluding that Saudi OCTGs were being dumped and recalculating the duty margin at 2.69 percent. Following the final determination, JESCO identified an error in Commerce’s calculation of Constructed Value (CV) profit. Correcting this error lowered JESCO’s CV profit, reducing JESCO's dumping margin to 1.37 percent. Commerce issued an amended negative final determination, imposing no duties. U.S. companies appealed, arguing that JESCO’s sales to a Colombian distributor were intra-company transfers within the Duferco entity, not an appropriate basis to construct CV profit--an argument not made during the investigation. The Trade Court affirmed Commerce’s determination, declining to apply the exhaustion requirement because the parties did not know that Commerce was considering using the Colombian sales until the final determination. The Federal Circuit vacated. Commerce need not expressly notify interested parties when it intends to change its methodology between its preliminary and final determinations, given the inclusion of the relevant data in the record and the advancement of arguments related to that data. The parties had an opportunity to raise their single entity objection before Commerce. View "Boomerang Tube LLC v. United States" on Justia Law
Dellew Corp. v. United States
Comments that the Court of Federal Claims made during a hearing, before the government’s corrective action materially altered the relationship between the parties, were not sufficient to qualify the contractor as a “prevailing party” under the Equal Access to Justice Act, 28 U.S.C. 2412(a), (d)(1)(A). The Federal Circuit remanded the case, which involved Dellew’s post-award bid protest, alleging that the Army improperly awarded TSI a contract because TSI did not accept a material term of the request for proposals when it refused to cap its proposed general and administrative rate, and the contract awarded varied materially from TSI’s proposal. During oral argument, the Claims Court provided “hint[s]” about its views favorable to Dellew on the merits, and repeatedly expressed its belief that corrective action would be appropriate. The Army subsequently terminated the TSI contract. The Claims Court dismissed Dellew’s action, determined that it retained jurisdiction despited mootness, and awarded Dellew $79,456.76 in fees and costs, stating that it made “numerous substantive comments during oral argument regarding the merits,” that “carried a sufficient judicial imprimatur to materially alter the relationship between [Dellew] and [the Government] such that [Dellew] qualifies as a prevailing party under the EAJA.” View "Dellew Corp. v. United States" on Justia Law
Diaz v. United States
Diaz submitted an unsolicited proposal to the U.S. Department of the Navy’s Indian Head Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division (IHEODTD) pursuant to Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Subpart 15.6. An IHEODTD contracting officer conducted an initial review of Diaz’s proposal and determined that it did not satisfy two requirements of FAR 15.606-1: that it be innovative and unique and include sufficient detail to permit a determination that government support could be worthwhile and the proposed work could benefit the agency’s research and development or other mission responsibilities. The Court of Federal Claims dismissed Diaz’s complaint for lack of subject matter because he lacked standing under 28 U.S.C. 1491(b)(1). The Federal Circuit affirmed. Diaz did not possess the requisite direct economic interest to satisfy his “burden of establishing the elements of standing.” Diaz cannot demonstrate that he “had a substantial chance of winning the contract” because, at the very least, his proposal did not conform to the requirements of FAR Subpart 15.6, which governs unsolicited proposals. View "Diaz v. United States" on Justia Law
Fedora v. Merit Systems Protection Board
Fedora began working for the Postal Service in 1980 and retired in 2012, then filed an appeal with the Merit Systems Protection Board alleging that his retirement was involuntary and amounted to constructive discharge. He claimed that he was forced to perform work in violation of his medical restrictions, was harassed, and was threatened with loss of his pension. An administrative judge found that Fedora had failed to make a non-frivolous allegation and dismissed. The Board issued a final order affirming the AJ’s decision, stating that the Federal Circuit “must receive [his] request for review no later than 60 calendar days after the date of [the Board’s] order.” . He filed a petition for review on October 20, 2014, within 60 days of his receipt of the order (August 19), but not within 60 days of issuance of the notice (August 15). Fedora argued that the Board’s final order directed him to the court's “Guide for Pro Se Petitioners and Appellants,” which incorrectly instructed that a petitioner “may file a petition for review in this court within 60 days of receipt of the Board’s decision.” The Federal Circuit dismissed his petition for lack of jurisdiction, 5 U.S.C. 7703(b)(1)(A), stating that it lacks authority to equitably toll the filing requirements. View "Fedora v. Merit Systems Protection Board" on Justia Law
Xilinx, Inc. v. Papst Licensing GMBH & Co. KG
Xilinx a Delaware corporation headquartered in California, develops and markets programmable logic devices for electronics systems. Papst, organized and having its principal place of business in Germany, is a nonpracticing entity that does not manufacture or sell products. Papst’s website describes “a global patent licensing and monetization firm specialized in enforcing infringed patents with the goal to conclude a license agreement with the infringer.” Papst has repeatedly filed patent infringement suits in California federal courts. Before acquiring the patents-in-suit, Papst investigated potential infringers and targets for licensing, including 28 companies based, or having significant presence, in California. Papst sent a patent-infringement notice letter and a follow-up letter to Xilinx. Papst’s managing director, its senior counsel, and its Texas-based outside counsel, traveled to California to meet with Xilinx. No agreement was reached. Xilinx sought a declaratory judgment, in the Northern District of California, that Xilinx’s products do not infringe the patents-in-suit and that the patents are invalid. Papst filed an infringement suit against Xilinx in the District of Delaware asserting the same patents. The California court dismissed the declaratory judgment action for lack of personal jurisdiction. The Federal Circuit reversed; the court has specific personal jurisdiction over Papst. Considering the totality of circumstances, the court found “sufficient minimum contacts” and that the exercise of jurisdiction would not be unreasonable. View "Xilinx, Inc. v. Papst Licensing GMBH & Co. KG" on Justia Law
Phigenix, Inc. v. Immunogen, Inc.
The 856 patent generally relates to “huMab4D5 ANTI-ErbB2 antibody-maytansinoid conjugates.” The claimed methods of treatment purport to combat a variety of cancers. ImmunoGen provided Genentech with a “worldwide exclusive license,” which Genentech uses to produce the drug Kadcyla®TM. Phigenix, “a for-profit discovery stage biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and biomedical research company” that focuses “on the use of novel molecular therapeutics” designed to fight cancer, sought inter partes review. The Patent Board found the asserted claims of the 856 patent nonobvious. The Federal Circuit dismissed an appeal for lack of standing, finding that Phigenix has not offered sufficient proof establishing that it has suffered an injury in fact. Phigenix does not contend that it faces risk of infringing the 856 patent, that it is an actual or prospective licensee of the patent, or that it otherwise plans to take any action that would implicate the patent. Phigenix only claimed that it has suffered an actual economic injury because the 856 patent increases competition between itself and ImmunoGen; “‘[i]ncreased competition represents a cognizable Article III injury,’” View "Phigenix, Inc. v. Immunogen, Inc." on Justia Law
Walker v. Health International Corp.
Walker filed suit in December 2012, alleging patent infringement. In May 2014, Walker and HSN, both represented by counsel, entered into a Mediated Settlement Agreement, requiring that HSN pay Walker $200,000; Walker was to deliver a release and the parties were to stipulate to dismissal. On May 9, HSN moved to stay deadlines based on the Agreement “that resolves all claims.” Walker opposed the motion, stating that “significant issues” remained. The court denied HSN’s motion. On May 12, HSN sought reconsideration, filing the Agreement and a memorandum arguing that all claims were resolved. During May, Walker moved to file a Third Amended Complaint, moved to set a Markman Hearing, and opposed the filing of the Agreement. On May 29, HSN moved to enforce the Agreement, attaching correspondence from Walker’s counsel acknowledging that the case was settled, but requesting additional discovery. Walker delivered a general release and HSN forwarded the $200,000 payment. Walker filed motions opposing enforcement and attorneys’ fees for HSN. HSN sought sanctions based on Walker’s “meritless filings … on a matter that has been fully resolved.” At a status conference, both parties agreed the case should be dismissed, but disagreed about over what the court retained jurisdiction. The court dismissed and awarded HSN “reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs resulting from Plaintiff’s vexatious actions after the filing of the Notice of Settlement.” Walker unsuccessfully sought reconsideration, then filed an unsuccessful objection to fees. In April 2015, the court entered final judgment awarding HSN $20,511.50 in attorneys’ fees. The Federal Circuit affirmed and, finding Walker’s appeal frivolous, awarded damages and double costs under Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 38. View "Walker v. Health International Corp." on Justia Law
United Construction Products, Inc. v. Tile Tech, Inc.
United sued Tile Tech (TT), claiming infringement of its patent, entitled “Support Pedestal Having an Anchoring Washer for Securing Elevated Surface Tiles.” United served its first discovery requests. TT missed the deadline. United granted 20 additional days to respond. TT requested two additional extensions before serving responses, which were deficient. TT postponed a conference on the matter three times, then failed to respond by an agreed-upon date for supplementing its responses. After additional delays, United filed a Motion to Compel. TT never responded to the Motion, but served supplemental responses, still deficient, and later served a third supplement. The district court ordered TT to respond, imposed monetary sanctions, and warned that it would enter default judgment if TT did not comply by October 12. TT failed to respond. On October 12, United moved for default judgment. TT responded that it had not known the response deadline; that it had produced a set of supplemental responses; and that it required an expert opinion to fully respond, which would be forthcoming. On November 2, TT served supplemental responses, which disclosed its destruction of a previously undisclosed mold used to make one key component of the disputed support pedestal. United sought spoliation sanctions and added a claim for unfair competition, to which TT never responded. The Federal Circuit affirmed default judgment with relief for all of United’s claims, and a permanent injunction. View "United Construction Products, Inc. v. Tile Tech, Inc." on Justia Law