The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit denied Philips’ petition for rehearing and affirmed its decision to issue a writ of mandamus directing a district court to stay its proceedings pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1659 until the parallel US International Trade Commission (ITC) proceedings were no longer subject to judicial review. In re Princo Corp., Misc. Docket No. 841 (Fed. Cir., May 4, 2007) (Dyk, J.).
On March 1, 2007, the Court granted Princo’s petition for a writ of mandamus asking the Court to vacate the district court’s grant of summary judgment and stay the case pursuant to § 1659 until the related ITC proceedings were complete. (See “Exercising Authority to Issue Writs of Mandamus,” IP Update, Vol. 10, No. 3) In its petition for rehearing, Philips contended that the Court erred in construing the “becomes final” language of § 1659 to require finality on appeal. Philips argued that the language of 19 U.S.C. § 1337 (§ 337) which uses “becomes final” to mean finality at the Commission level required a similar interpretation of § 1659.
The Court quickly dispensed with Philips’ contention that “becomes final” should be interpreted similarly across the board, citing Clay v. United States, in which the Supreme Court held that the precise meaning of “finality” in a statute depends on context. The Court explained that § 337 and § 1659 were enacted at different times and for quite different purposes. The purpose of the provision in § 337 is to allow judicial review after final Commission action, while the purpose of § 1659 is to avoid duplicative proceedings. Unable to find an explicit connection between the two statutes, the Court denied rehearing and affirmed its construction of § 1659 set forth in the original opinion.