IPWatchdog.com is in the process of transitioning to a newer version of our website. Please be patient with us while we work out all the kinks.

Posts Tagged: "U.S. Constitution"

Epic Sports Petitions Fifth Circuit for Rehearing En Banc in Texas A&M ‘12th Man’ Copyright/ Takings Clause Case

On September 22, publishing company Canada Hockey L.L.C., doing business as Epic Sports, and Michael Bynum, a sportswriter and editor, filed a petition for rehearing en banc in their appeal of a copyright case against both Texas A&M University and a pair of school officials. In their petition, the plaintiffs argue that the original panel decision erred in failing to find constitutional violations of both the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause and due process under the Fourteenth Amendment for Texas A&M’s unlawful reproduction of the plaintiffs’ copyrighted work regarding the history of the legendary 12th Man at Texas A&M.

SCOTUS Dubs PTAB/APJ Structure a ‘Rare Bird’, Pushes for Workable Remedies in Arthrex Oral Arguments

The Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court today heard arguments in United States/ Smith & Nephew v. Arthrex, in which the Court will decide whether the administrative patent judges (APJs) of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) are “principal” or “inferior” officers of the United States, and—if they are principal officers—whether the Federal Circuit’s 2019 fix was sufficient to cure any Appointments Clause defect. The Court generally seemed extremely skeptical of the “unusual” powers APJs seem to have compared with other administrative agencies and pushed both sides to offer reasonable solutions.

Arthrex Update: New Amicus Briefs and USPTO Petition

Activity surrounding the requests for the Supreme Court’s review of the holdings in Arthrex v. Smith & Nephew I and Arthrex v. Smith & Nephew II continues to increase. As outlined in “A Guide to Arthrex: Activity Heats Up in Petitions Pending with Supreme Court”, four petitions for writs of certiorari have been filed:  U.S. v Arthrex, No. 19-1434, Smith & Nephew v. Arthrex, No. 19-1452, Arthrex v. Smith & Nephew, No. 19-1458, and Arthrex v. Smith & Nephew, No. 19-1204.  Now, three more amicus briefs have been filed by US Inventor, TiVo and Comcast, and on July 27, an additional consolidated petition for certiorari filed by the U.S. Government and USPTO Director Andrei Iancu asked the Court to review 39 Federal Circuit rulings affected by Arthrex.

Askeladden Brief Asks SCOTUS to Grant U.S. Government’s Petition to Reconsider Whether PTAB APJs Are Principal Officers Under the Appointments Clause

On July 29, Askeladden LLC filed an amicus brief in support of the U.S. Government’s combined petition for a writ of certiorari in U.S. v. Arthrex, Inc., No. 19-1434. In particular, Askeladden asks the Supreme Court to accept the petition and address the threshold question raised by the U.S. Government: whether, for purposes of the Appointments Clause, U.S. Const. art. II, § 2, Cl. 2, administrative patent judges (APJs) of the Patent Trial and Appeals Board (PTAB) of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) are “principal officers” who must be appointed by the President with the Senate’s advice and consent, or “inferior officers” whose appointment Congress has permissibly vested in a department head.

One Inventor’s Unsolicited Congressional Testimony Following Arthrex

Since inventors are rarely allowed to participate in patent discussions in Congress, I would like to submit my testimony here. In Arthrex, the Federal Circuit in effect decided that our rights are subordinate to the government, so the government has the authority to giveth them to us or taketh them away. I would like to remind the Federal Circuit, the Supreme Court, and Congress that you are tasked with the honor, privilege and duty to defend our rights. That is the very basis on which you are employed, and you have no function other than that. Our rights preexist you, supersede you, and come from sources that are above your pay grade. They exist as a matter of our birth. You have no legitimate authority to take those rights just because it is inconvenient for the huge multinational corporations that have to now deal with the illegitimate position of owning our rights because so-called judges unconstitutionally took them from us and gave them to those huge corporations.   

Celgene Corp. v. Peter: Should the Federal Circuit Leave PTAB ‘Patent Takings’ Issue for Another Day?

Nearly four months ago, the Federal Circuit for the first time addressed the applicability of the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment to IPRs, holding in Celgene Corp v. Peter “that the retroactive application of inter partes review (IPR) proceedings to pre-America Invents Act (AIA) patents is not an unconstitutional taking under the Fifth Amendment” Celgene Corp. v. Peter, 931 F.3d 1342, 1362 (Fed. Cir. 2019). Since then, the court has continued to reject similar Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB)-related Takings Clause claims on the merits. E.g., Collabo Innovations v. Sony Corp., No. 2018-1311 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 5, 2019). Unsurprisingly, Celgene filed a request for an en banc rehearing, and the government has just this week filed its response. Both Celgene’s en banc petition and the government’s response address the merits of Celgene’s constitutional claim—but as we hinted at in an earlier article analyzing the Celgene decision, there is a serious question whether the Federal Circuit should have even reached the merits of the Takings Clause issue in its panel opinion. In light of Supreme Court Takings Clause precedent, the Federal Circuit may want to either request supplemental briefing to decide whether it should have addressed the constitutional question in the first place, or potentially even revise the panel opinion and leave this issue to be decided in another case.

Federal Circuit Says PTAB Judges Are Not Constitutionally Appointed

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, in an opinion authored by Judge Moore, has ruled that the current statutory scheme for appointing Administrative Patent Judges (APJs) to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) violates the Appointments Clause of the U.S. Constitution as it makes APJs principal officers. APJs are presently appointed by the Secretary of Commerce, but principal officers must be appointed by the U.S. President under the Constitution, Article II, § 2, cl. 2. To remedy this, the statutory removal provisions that are presently applied to APJs must be severed so that the Secretary of Commerce has the power to remove APJs without cause, said the Court. Dismissing the government’s and appellees’ arguments that the Appointments Clause issue had been waived by the appellant, Arthrex, Inc., because Arthrex had not raised the issue with the PTAB, the Federal Circuit said that “this is an issue of exceptional importance, and we conclude it is an appropriate use of our discretion to decide the issue over a challenge of waiver.”

Dismissing the government’s and appellees’ arguments that the Appointments Clause issue had been waived by the appellant, Arthrex, Inc., because Arthrex had not raised the issue with the PTAB, the Federal Circuit said that “this is an issue of exceptional importance, and we conclude it is an appropriate use of our discretion to decide the issue over a challenge of waiver.”

Clarifying the U.S. Approach to Copyright and Plagiarism

Copyright is one of the most important intellectual property rights for any individual in America. The power to grant protection of copyrights “by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries” is given to Congress in Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution. As an author and computer programmer, I find that many of my colleagues misunderstand these rights and the protections that they afford. For this reason, I think it is important to clear up some misunderstandings in the recent IP Watchdog article, “A Question of Morals: The U.S. Approach to Plagiarism, ‘Moral Rights’, and Copyright Infringement” by Dave Davis.