No Standing on Appeal from PTAB Where Appellant Cannot Prove Injury in Fact
In Apple Inc. v. Qualcomm Inc., No. 2020-1642 (Fed. Cir. Apr. 7, 2021), the Federal Circuit dismissed for lack of standing Apple’s appeal from a final written decision in an IPR ruling.
Before Apple’s appeal, but following the dispute at the PTAB, the two parties reached a settlement in all litigations involving the patents at issue. The parties executed a six-year licensing agreement with respect to those patents. Apple maintained its appeal from the PTAB.
The Federal Circuit held that, although Article III standing is not required to appear before an administrative agency, an appeal from an agency’s final action to a federal court requires the appellant to show an injury in fact. The Federal Circuit found that there was insufficient evidence Apple suffered an injury in fact. In so doing, the Court held that the outcome of the IPR would not affect Apple’s payment obligations under the license. Additionally, determining whether Qualcomm would sue Apple for infringement of the patents after the license expires was too speculative. The Court further noted that Apple failed to show it will likely engage in activities that could give rise to a suit based on the patents after the license expires.