Supreme Court Will Address Two Key Patent “Inter Partes” Review Standards in “Cuozzo Speed Technologies” Case

Kaminski_Jeffri_LRFeatured Expert Contributor – Intellectual Property (Patents)

By Jeffri A. Kaminski, Partner, Venable LLP, with Leslie A. Lee, Associate, Venable LLP

In Cuozzo Speed Technologies v. Lee, the US Supreme Court will be deciding two important issues with respect to patent claim constructions in Inter Partes review (IPR) proceedings.  An IPR is a procedure instituted in the America Invents Act of 2012 (AIA) for challenging the validity of a United States patent before the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).  In Cuozzo the Court will resolve 1) what claim-construction standard should be used by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) in determining patent validity, and 2) whether the PTAB’s decisions are judicially reviewable.  PTAB is the entity within the USPTO that oversees IPR proceedings.  The case is set for oral argument on Monday, April 25. Continue reading “Supreme Court Will Address Two Key Patent “Inter Partes” Review Standards in “Cuozzo Speed Technologies” Case”

If Companies Cave on GMO Labeling, Supply-Chain Concerns Could Be the Next Mandatory Labeling Gambit

Ivory CoastCalifornia’s federal district courts, which are already overstocked with food-labeling class-action suits, are now being asked to impose new food-product disclosure mandates. Courts have thus far dismissed lawsuits seeking on-package statements regarding alleged concerns in companies’ overseas supply chains, such as forced labor. But don’t expect those losses to dampen corporate-disclosure activists’ resolve. Such suits are just one part in a larger campaign, following in the footsteps of the mandatory “GMO labeling” crusade, to require supply-chain information on product packaging.

Manufacturers of chocolate, pet food, and seafood have been targeted for their failure to disclose on their packaging the existence of forced labor and other possible human-rights violations in foreign countries from which they source their products or product ingredients. Such an omission, the class actions claim, violates California consumer-protection laws. One remedy the plaintiffs seek is disclosure of this supply-chain data on product labels and point-of-sale advertising. Continue reading “If Companies Cave on GMO Labeling, Supply-Chain Concerns Could Be the Next Mandatory Labeling Gambit”

Supreme Court Observations: Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Bouaphakeo

Cruz-Alvarez_FFeatured Expert Contributor – Civil Justice/Class Actions

By Frank Cruz-Alvarez, Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P. (co-authored with Rachel A. Canfield, an associate with the firm)

The U.S. Supreme Court recently deviated from its historically stringent view on class certification and affirmed an Eight Circuit decision to uphold certification of a class of Tyson Foods, Inc. employees who brought suit against Tyson for a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA).  Justice Anthony M. Kennedy authored the six-member majority opinion.  Tyson Foods, Inc. v. BouaphakeoContinue reading “Supreme Court Observations: Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Bouaphakeo”

Florida Court Allows State Attorney General to Dismiss Frivolous False Claims Act Suits

Attorney General Pam Bondi (Tampa Bay Times)
Attorney General Pam Bondi

A Florida court of appeals recently held that the state’s attorney general could unilaterally dismiss a qui tam action filed under the Florida False Claims Act (FCA) at any time even though the office originally declined to intervene.  Though mostly based on Florida law, Barati v. State of Florida merits the attention of companies doing business in other states that have enacted laws similar to the Florida FCA.  Arguments that succeeded in the Florida courts regarding Attorney General Pam Bondi’s authority to dismiss qui tam suits could very well prevail in other states if her counterparts take similarly aggressive action to dismiss baseless false-claims suits. Continue reading “Florida Court Allows State Attorney General to Dismiss Frivolous False Claims Act Suits”

DC Circuit’s “Fokker” Decision Preserves the Separation of Powers, but Raises a Concern about DPAs

DC CircuitDeferred-prosecution agreements (DPAs) pose thorny questions from an overcriminalization perspective.  But DPA skeptics should welcome—at least for now—a decision issued last Tuesday by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.  In a case entitled United States v. Fokker Services B.V., the DC Circuit held that federal district courts may not second-guess the charging decisions of prosecutors under the guise of performing their Speedy Trial Act (STA) duties.

After investigating the defendant company’s self-reporting of potential export control law and federal sanction violations with respect to Iran, Sudan, and Burma, the Department of Justice negotiated an 18-month deferred-prosecution agreement with Fokker.  To implement such a DPA the prosecutor formally initiates criminal charges against the defendant based on facts conceded in the agreement.  If the defendant meets the preconditions mapped out in the DPA (which generally involve complying with the law and keeping its nose clean), the prosecutor will then dismiss those charges at the conclusion of the deferral period.  If, on the other hand, the defendant fails to meet the preconditions at some point along the way, the prosecutor will proceed with its criminal case. Continue reading “DC Circuit’s “Fokker” Decision Preserves the Separation of Powers, but Raises a Concern about DPAs”