IRIS Corp. v. Japan Airlines Corp., No. 10-1051 (Fed. Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
IRIS owns the 506 patent, titled “Method of Making an Improved Security Identification Document Including Contactless Communication Insert Unit.” The patent discloses methods for making a secure identification document containing an embedded computer chip that stores biographical or biometric data. Japan Airlines Corporation (JAL) examines passports according to the Enhanced Border Security Act, 8 U.S.C. 1221, the Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002, 19 C.F.R. 122.75a(d), and international treaties. According to IRIS, some of these passports are made using the methods claimed in the 506 patent. IRIS sued, alleging that JAL infringed the patent under 35 U.S.C. 271(g) by “using . . . electronic passports in the processing and/or boarding of passengers . . . at . . . JAL services passenger check-in facilities throughout the United States.” JAL argued that federal laws requiring the examination of passports conflict with the patent laws and therefore exempt JAL from infringement liability and that IRIS’s exclusive remedy was an action against the United States under 28 U.S.C. 1498(a). The district court agreed. The Federal Circuit affirmed, concluding that JAL’s allegedly infringing acts are carried out “for the United States” under 28 U.S.C. 1498(a).