by Dennis Crouch
Cascades Projections v. Epson America (Fed. Cir. 2017) (en banc denial)
In a split decision, the Federal Circuit has denied Cascades petition for initial en banc hearing. The petition asked one question: “Whether a patent right is a public right.” Because a Federal Circuit panel already decided this decision in MCM, Cascades asked the court to bypass the initial panel appeal and head straight to the en banc question. See MCM Portfolio LLC v. Hewlett-Packard Co., 812 F.3d 1284 (Fed. Cir. 2015), cert. denied 137 S. Ct. 292 (2016). The issue is important because the answer to the private right question could lead to a judgment that the administrative patent trial system is an unconstitutional violation of due process rights. I previously discussed the case on Patently-O.
For judges wrote separately on the case:
Judge Newman Concurring in Denial: The important question here is “whether the statutory scheme created by the America Invents Act, in which the Office is given an enlarged opportunity to correct its errors in granting a patent, with its decision subject to review by the Federal Circuit, meets the constitutional requirements of due process in disposition of property.” Judge Newman suggests that she would vote for re-hearing after “full opportunity for panel rehearing.”
Judge Dyk (Joined by Judges Prost and Hughes) Concurring in the Denial: “MCM was correctly decided. . . . [T]here is no inconsistency in concluding that patent rights constitute property and that the source of that property right is a public right conferred by federal statute.”
Judge O’Malley, Dissenting from the Denial: Patent rights are likely “core private rights only subject to adjudication in Article III courts.”
Judge Reyna, Dissenting from the Denial: “The state of current law compels en banc review.” According to Judge Reyna, the clear statement from Supreme Court’s 1898 decision in McCormick Harvesting that “The only authority competent to set a patent aside, or to annul it, or to correct it for any reason whatever, is vested in the courts of the United States, and not in the department which issued the patent.” McCormick Harvesting Mach. Co. v. C. Aultman & Co., 169 U.S. 606, 609 (1898).
We’ll look for the upcoming panel decision in the case and subsequent en banc hearing.