The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit continues to strictly enforce rules of finality and timeliness, ordering that a final judgment must be rendered on all claims for relief before a party seeks to appeal and a notice of appeal must be filed within 30 days after judgment is entered or be dismissed as untimely. Whirlpool Corp. v. LG Electronics, Inc., Case No. 07-1088 (Fed. Cir., Mar. 1, 2007) (Radar, J.); Baychar, Inc. v. Salomon North America, Inc., Case No. 07-1105 (Fed. Cir., Mar. 1, 2007) (Radar, J.).
In Whirlpool, the defendant-appellee LG Electronics moved to dismiss an appeal filed by Whirlpool Corp. Whirlpool, the plaintiff-appellant, sued LG for infringement of two patents. LG filed counterclaims seeking declaratory judgments of non-infringement of both patents, declaratory judgments of invalidity of both patents on various grounds and a declaratory judgment of unenforceability of one of the patents. Several motions for summary judgment were filed, but LG did not file motions for summary judgment pertaining to every issue underlying the declaratory judgment counterclaims.
The district court granted summary judgment of non-infringement and invalidity for the first and second patent, respectively, but denied all other summary judgment motions as moot and entered judgment. On appeal, Whirlpool argued to no avail that although the district court failed to enter judgment dismissing or denying the defendant’s counterclaims, the district court’s intent to deny those counterclaims was evident. The Federal Circuit disagreed and noted that the defendant’s motions for summary judgment did not raise all of the issues that were raised by the counterclaims. By denying summary judgment only on the issues raised by the motions for summary judgment, the district court did not clearly decide on all of the relief sought by the counterclaimants. Because not all claims for relief were disposed of, the district court did not enter a final judgment. (See Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(b).) Thus, the Federal Circuit granted LG’s motion and dismissed the appeal as premature.
In Baychar, the Federal Circuit addressed the issue of timeliness. Salomon, the defendant-appellee, moved to dismiss Baychar’s appeal of the district court judgment. The plaintiff-appellant, Baychar, filed both its notice of appeal and a motion requesting an extension of time to file its notice of appeal 35 days after the district court entered judgment. After the district court denied the motion, Baychar filed a renewed motion for an enlargement of time. The Federal Circuit, citing Fed. R. App. P. 4(a)(1)(A), reiterated that a notice of appeal must be filed within 30 days after judgment is entered. The requirement of a timely notice of appeal is “mandatory and jurisdictional.” Any appeal not filed within that time must be dismissed. Finding Baychar’s notice of appeal untimely, the Federal Circuit dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction.