IRIS Corp. v. Japan Airlines Corp., ___F.3d___ (Fed. Cir. Oct. 21, 2014) (Prost, Newman, HUGHES) (E.D. N.Y.: Amon)

Fed. Cir. affirms dismissal of claims against infringing party and finds that patentee’s exclusive remedy is a suit against the United States. IRIS’s patents cover a method for making an improved security identification document with an embedded chip to store data. IRIS sued Japan Airlines (JAL) alleging that it used the technology in processing and boarding passengers at check-in points throughout the country. JAL must examine passports according to federal law, including those made using the patented method.

The court first noted that the government gave express authorization to JAL’s activities because the party could not comply with its legal obligations without infringing. The court also found that the use conferred a benefit on the government. JAL’s services reduced the demands on the government and directly enhanced its ability to monitor and secure its borders. “Where the government requires private parties to perform quasi-governmental functions . . . there can be no question that those actions are undertaken for the benefit of the government.” Slip op. at 6. Because JAL’s act fall under 28 U.S.C. 1482, IRIS’s sole remedy lies in suing the United States under the section.