Straight Path IP Group, LLC, Petitioner v. Apple Inc. (on petition for writ of certiorari 2019)
The patentee straight path provides the court with the following question:
Petitioner holds four patents that claim a new method for establishing point-to-point communications over a computer network. The validity of these patents was sustained by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) and by two decisions of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Claiming infringement of its patents, petitioner sued Apple and Cisco Systems in the Northern District of California, the defendants’ home district. In an unreported decision, the District Judge granted summary judgment to Apple and Cisco Systems. He ruled that statements made by petitioner’s counsel during oral argument in one of petitioner’s successful appeals to the Federal Circuit narrowed the petitioner’s patent claims so that the Apple and Cisco systems did not infringe petitioner’s patents. The District Court decision raised only issues of law. Petitioner appealed to the Federal Circuit with a 54-page principal brief and a 38-page Reply Brief. Apple’s and Cisco Systems’ briefs totaled 110 pages. Less than two weeks after oral argument, a Federal Circuit panel issued a decision that stated, in toto, “AFFIRMED. See Fed. Cir. R. 36.”
The Question Presented is: Whether Rule 36(e) of the Federal Circuit’s Rules of Procedure violates the Fifth Amendment by authorizing panels of the Federal Circuit to affirm, with no explanation whatever, a District Court judgment resolving only issues of law.