Cert Petitions From Federal Circuit Cases Granted and Denied

By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD on January 15, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The Supreme Court is back in action (or, as I like to say, back in full effect), and cases originating in the Federal Circuit are moving up the ranks with cert petitions being granted. But they all can't be winners, and some petitions are getting denied as well. Here's a quick look at some of the hot cases.

Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association, et al., v. Monsanto Company, et al.

The Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association ("OSGTA"), though noble in their efforts, don't know when enough is enough. They preemptively sued Monsanto to protect themselves from a potential patent infringement claim, in case their fields became contaminated with Monsanto's genetically modified seed. The district court found no case or controversy.

On appeal, the Federal Circuit affirmed, and indeed bolstered the OSGTA's position by stating that Monsanto's statements that they would not sue OSCTA farmers "are binding as a matter of judicial estoppel." The OSGTA petitioned the Supreme Court for writ of certiorari, but on Monday, the Court denied the petition.

Two Petitions Granted

While the OSGTA's petition was denied, the Court granted two cert petitions stemming from Federal Circuit appeals, with both cases involving patent issues. In Limelight Networks, Inc. v. Akamai Technologies, Inc., the Court must determine whether a party may be liable for inducing patent infringement, even though there was no direct infringement.

The case of Nautilus, Inc. v. Biogis Instruments, Inc. brings two issues to light regarding patent ambiguity and the presumption of validity. According to SCOTUSblog, the Court must determine whether "ambiguous patent claims with multiple reasonable interpretations," where the "ambiguity is not 'insoluble' by a court -- defeats the statutory requirement of particular and distinct patent claiming; and (2) whether the presumption of validity dilutes the requirement of particular and distinct patent claiming."

As the cases progress, we will keep you updated. We expect arguments in April, reports SCOTUSblog.

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