The Federal Circuit recently issued a precedential opinion in General Electric Co. v. ITC
, 670 F.3d 1206 (Fed. Cir. 2012). See
our March 1, 2012 post
. In this opinion, the Court addressed its 1984 decision in Beloit
, which gave the Commission the “liberty to reach a ‘no violation’ determination on a single dispositive issue,” such as non-infringement. Beloit Corp. v. Valment Oy
, 742 F.3d 1421, 1423 (Fed. Cir. 1984). In other words, under Beloit
, the Commission could dispose of investigations by reaching final determinations as to some, but not all dispositive issues. Recognizing that the approach carried a risk of remand, the Court reasoned that the risk was outweighed by the benefits of easing the burden on a Commission that was often faced with “numerous complex issues … within rigid time limits,” and saving “the parties, the Commission, and this court unnecessary cost and effort.” Id
On appeal in Beloit
, the Respondent was precluded from arguing the issues of validity and domestic industry, as the Commission only took a position on non-infringement. Id.
at 1422-23. This issue of judicial appeal, when the Commission takes no position on certain issues in disposing of a Section 337 action, was addressed by the Federal Circuit in the General Electric
case. In the General Electric (“GE”) investigation, the ALJ found that Respondent infringed three patents, including U.S. Patent No. 6,921,985 (the ‘985 patent); that the three patents were unenforceable or invalid; that GE had domestic industry with respect to two of the three patents; and that there was a violation of Section 337. The parties petitioned for review and the Commission issued a Notice of Review, indicating that it would review all issues in the decision, except importation and the intent element of inequitable conduct. With respect to the ‘985 patent, however, the Commission only addressed the technical prong of the domestic industry requirement in reversing the ALJ’s determination and finding no violation of Section 337. See
our January 9, 2010
and March 5, 2010
posts for more details on the Commission’s final determination in this investigation. Complainant GE appealed to the Federal Circuit on all issues relating to the ‘985 patent that the Commission noticed for review, including those that the Commission did not take a position on in disposing of the investigation.