To recover a trademark infringer’s profit, must a trademark owner prove that the infringer acted willfully? On Tuesday the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Romag Fasteners, Inc. v. Fossil, Inc., a case in which the Federal Circuit held that willfulness is a prerequisite to disgorgement of profits in trademark cases. Here is our argument preview.
Our third and final argument preview for January’s cases covers American Institute for International Steel, Inc. v. United States, a case that attracted two amicus briefs on each side. In March, 2018, President Trump relied upon Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, codified as amended at 19 U.S.C. § 1862, to impose a 25% tariff on imported steel products. In this case, a panel of the Federal Circuit will address a challenge by importers and users of imported steel products that Section 232 is facially unconstitutional. The appellants, in particular, argue that Section 232 constitutes an improper delegation of legislative authority and violates the principles of separation of powers established by the Constitution. This case will be argued at the Federal Circuit tomorrow morning.
Tomorrow the Federal Circuit will hear oral argument in Sanford Health Plan v. United States, a case presenting the question of whether health insurance companies may recover cost-sharing payments identified in the Affordable Care Act but never funded by Congress. Here is our argument preview.
Next week is argument week, and three cases slated to be argued attracted amicus briefs. The first is Dragon Intellectual Property v. Dish Network LLC, a patent case that drew interest from the Electronic Frontier Foundation on the issue of the district court’s prevailing party determination, a prerequisite for attorney fee awards. Here is our argument preview.
The Supreme Court will hear one hour of oral argument tomorrow in three cases challenging the Federal Circuit’s holding that various health insurance companies cannot obtain damages under the Tucker Act for subsidies that were identified in the Affordable Care Act but that Congress later declined to appropriate. The three cases are Maine Community Health Options v. United States, Moda Health Plan Inc. v. United States, and Land of Lincoln Mutual Health Insurance Company v. United States.
Does the patent statute permit patent owners to appeal decisions by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board that petitions for inter partes review were not filed late? Or, under the statute, are these decisions simply unreviewable? The Supreme Court will tackle these questions on Monday, when it will hear argument in Thryv, Inc. v. Click-To-Call Technologies, LP.
Another case being argued in December that attracted an amicus brief is In re Google LLC. In this case, Google seeks a writ of mandamus ordering the district court to dismiss the case for improper venue. According to Google, the case presents the question of whether “a defendant who keeps computer equipment in the facility of a third party in a judicial district has a ‘regular and established place of business’ in that district under the patent venue statute.” Besides Google, the other interested party in this case is the plaintiff-patent owner, Super Interconnect Technologies LLC.
Two cases being argued next week attracted amicus briefs. One is Monk v. Wilkie, a case in which Conley F. Monk, Jr. and eight other veterans sought class certification to assert claims of unreasonable system-wide delay by the Board of Veterans Appeals in deciding appeals of denials of veterans’ claims. In 2018, the Court of Veterans Appeals denied class certification in an equally divided 4-4 en banc decision. According to Monk, however, the CAVC misinterpreted Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a) when it did so.
An important case being argued next week is Network-1 Technologies, Inc. v. Hewlett-Packard Company. This case involves an appeal and a cross appeal. While the appeal presents run-of-the-mill claim construction disputes, the cross-appeal presents the question of whether the district court erred in concluding that HP was estopped from presenting an obviousness challenge because HP could have but did not raise that challenge during a prior inter partes review. This is an important question, because its resolution requires interpretation of 35 U.S.C. § 315(e)(2), which bars any assertion “that the claim is invalid on any ground that the petitioner raised or reasonably could have raised during that inter partes review.”
When a patent applicant challenges the U.S. Patent and Trademark’s rejection of her patent application, and in particular takes that challenge into federal district court rather than straight to the Federal Circuit—in order, for example, to introduce new evidence and obtain de novo review—must the applicant pay the USPTO’s personnel expenses of the district court proceeding? Indeed, must the applicant pay those expenses, including attorneys’ fees, regardless of whether the applicant wins or loses in court? Those are questions the Supreme Court will consider Monday, when it holds oral argument in Peter v. NantKwest, Inc., the first of six Federal Circuit cases the Supreme Court has agreed to hear during the 2019 Term.