Digest of Align Tech., Inc. v. Int’l Trade Comm’n, Nos. 2013-1240, -1363 (Fed. Cir. July 18, 2014) (precedential). On appeal from International Trade Commission. Before Prost and Chen.

Procedural Posture: Patent applicant appealed a Patent Trial and Appeal Board decision affirming the patent examiner’s rejection of certain claims as obvious. CAFC vacated the rejection of some claims but affirmed other claims as obvious.

  • ITC Commission Review: CAFC must set aside any findings of the Commission that are arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with the law. Further, the Commission must abide by its own regulations. The court found that the Commission circumvented its own rules without waiving, suspending, or amending them, in its review of the order denying the motion for termination. The Commission’s Rules of Practice and Procedure distinguish between rulings by the ALJ that are “initial determinations” and those that are “orders.” A denial of motion for termination is an order. Rulings on motions may not be appealed to the Commission prior to the administrative law judge’s issuance of an initial determination, unless the requirements for interlocutory review are satisfied, which neither party argued. CAFC thus found that the Commission’s review of the order was arbitrary and capricious.

Ian Moore