High Court to Tackle Patent Appeals and Deportation Time Limit

WASHINGTON (CN) — As the Supreme Court closes outs its calendar for the summer, it added multiple cases Monday where federal agencies grappled with time limits in patent reviews and deportation cases.

In the patent case, the Federal Circuit tossed an appeal by Dex Media Inc., which contests the validity of a patent acquired in 2011 by Click to Call Technologies LP.

Though the U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board sided with Dex initially, beginning a process known inter partes review, the Federal Circuit invoked a one-year limit and ordered the IPR dismissed.

Dex wants the Supreme Court to decide now whether it was proper for Click to Call to appeal in the first place, noting that Section 314(d) of Title 34 says that determinations on IPR “shall be final and nonappealable.”

Click-to-Call is represented by Daniel Geyser, who did not respond to a request for comment at press time. Dex Media’s attorney, Adam Charnes of Kilpatrick Townsend, declined to speak on the grant of certiorari.

Per its custom, the Supreme Court did not issue any comment Monday in agreeing to take up the case.

It likewise did not comment in taking up a pair of cases asking whether courts can review decisions from the Board of Immigration Appeals regarding the timeliness of requests from people living in the country illegally to reopen removal proceedings against them. 

The immigrants at issue are Ruben Ovalles and Pedro Pablo Guerrero-Lasprilla, deported to the Dominican Republic and to Colombia, respectively, after being convicted of drug crimes.

Each waited years to ask the U.S. government to reopen the removal proceedings against them, but claimed they were diligently pursuing their cases during the delay. The men said their situations should have stopped the clock for filing their requests, a concept referred to in the legal context as tolling.

The Board of Immigration Appeals saw it differently and denied both claims as untimely.

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, courts can review the federal government’s decision not to reopen removal proceedings. But the law includes a provision that generally prevents courts from looking at decisions for people convicted of certain crimes unless they are making a constitutional claim or raising a “question of law.”

Applying this provision, the Fifth Circuit concluded that, not only could it not review the Board of Immigration Appeals’ denial of their requests to reopen their cases, it could not even look at the board’s holding that neither man was entitled to tolling.

Other circuits treat the question of whether courts can review decisions on tolling in this context differently. The Ninth Circuit has held it has jurisdiction to hear such cases, while the Fourth and Fifth Circuits have held they do not. 

Guerrero-Lasprilla is represented by Prada Urizar attorney Mario Urizar, while Ovalles is represented by Mark Prada, with the same firm.

The Justice Department declined to comment on the order.

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