MicroStrategy Inc. v. Apttus Corp.
On February 1, 2016, Bancroft obtained vacatur of a decision invalidating three patents of its client MicroStrategy Inc. in MicroStrategy Corp. v. Apttus Corp., No. 15-1922 (Fed. Cir. 2016). The district court had ruled that MicroStrategy’s patents were directed to ineligible subject matter. Following that ruling, Bancroft negotiated a global settlement between MicroStrategy and Apttus that resolved numerous suits between the parties but was conditioned on vacatur of the district court’s decision. Bancroft then filed a motion in the Federal Circuit seeking vacatur of the decision. Although the Supreme Court’s decision in U.S. Bancorp Mortgage Co. v. Bonner Mall Partnership, 513 U.S. 18 (1994), generally prohibits a court of appeals from vacating a lower-court decision because the parties have settled, Bancroft persuaded the Federal Circuit that the case qualifies for the “exceptional circumstances” exception recognized in Bonner Mall. Accordingly, the Federal Circuit vacated the district court’s decision, reinstating MicroStrategy’s patents. Bancroft partners Paul D. Clement and George W. Hicks, Jr., negotiated the settlement and secured the vacatur order from the Federal Circuit.