Digest of Arlington Indus., Inc. v. Bridgeport Fittings, Inc., No. 2013-1357 (Fed. Cir. July 17, 2014) (precedential). On appeal from M.D. Pa. Before Chen, Clevenger, and Hughes.

Procedural Posture: Patent holder sought a contempt order finding competitor, Bridgeport Fittings, Inc., in violation of a 2004 injunction settlement. The district court had found competitor in contempt of the injunction but had not yet determined any sanctions. Bridgeport appealed. CAFC dismissed for lack of appellate jurisdiction.

  • Appellate Jurisdiction: Under 28 U.S.C. § 1295(a)(1), CAFC has exclusive jurisdiction of an appeal from a “final decision” of a district court relating to patents. The court held there was not yet a final decision as no sanctions had been determined. The court also analyzed possible jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1292(c)(2) where the decision is “final except for an accounting” in patent infringement liability determination. CAFC held that this exception to the final judgment rule is to be interpreted narrowly, and extending it to contempt orders would impermissibly broaden the statute, which was intended for patent claims.
  • Interlocutory Appeal: 28 U.S.C. §§ 1292(a)(1) and (c)(1) provide for jurisdiction over interlocutory orders granting, continuing, modifying, refusing or dissolving injunctions, or refusing to dissolve or modify injunctions. Using a clarification-or-modification analysis, CAFC concluded that the legal relationship between the two parties was not altered. First-time claim constructions provided in the course of contempt proceedings are clarifications, not modifications. Thus, CAFC concluded, the contempt order at bar did not fit within the statute for interlocutory appeals.

Ian Moore