In re: Dominion Dealer Solutions, LLC, No. 14-109 (Fed. Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
AutoAlert sued Dominion, alleging infringement of five patents that claim systems and methods that involve alerting a car dealership when a new lease or sale opportunity seems a good fit for a past customer. After being served the complaint in that California action, Dominion timely petitioned the Director for inter partes reviews of the five patents under 35 U.S.C. 311-319. The district court stayed the case. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board denied the petition, deciding not to institute any of the requested inter partes reviews, for failure to show “a reasonable likelihood that the petitioner would prevail with respect to at least 1 of the claims challenged.” Dominion filed in a Virginia district court, invoking jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. 1331 & 1338 and seeking relief from the non-institution decision under the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 701-706, the Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. 2201-2202, and a mandamus statute, 28 U.S.C. 1361. Dominion then sought a writ of mandamus in the Federal Circuit under 28 U.S.C. 1651, challenging the Director’s non-institution decision. The Federal Circuit denied relief, stating that the relevant statutory provisions make clear that it may not hear an appeal from the Director’s decision not to institute an inter partes review.