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Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft Zur Forderung Der Angewand v. Sirius XM Radio Inc.

In February 2017, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung E.V. (“Fraunhofer”) initiated a patent infringements lawsuit against Sirius XM Radio Inc. (“Sirius XM”) in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware. After filing suit, Fraunhofer subpoenaed Sirius XM’s former Chief Marketing Officer, My-Chau Nguyen, for a deposition. When Nguyen failed to appear for her deposition, the parties filed motions in the District Court for the District of Columbia (“District Court”), to address the situation. The District Court denied Nguyen’s motion to quash the subpoena, ordered her to sit for her deposition, found her in contempt for defying the subpoena, and expressed an intent to award sanctions. Nguyen sat for her deposition and then, before any judgment had been issued on sanctions, she appealed the District Court’s orders against her. Before this court, Nguyen argues that the District Court abused its discretion in compelling her deposition, finding her in contempt, and expressing an intent to award sanctions.

We dismiss the appeal for want of jurisdiction. Nguyen’s challenge to the District Court’s order compelling her deposition is moot because her deposition testimony has been given. Nguyen’s challenges to the District Court’s contempt finding and intent to award sanctions raise matters relating to a discovery proceeding ancillary to a patent suit which are within the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. See 28 U.S.C. § 1295(a)(1).

Nguyen requests that, rather than dismissing her appeal, we transfer the case to the Federal Circuit pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1631. That provision states that if a “court finds that there is a want of jurisdiction, the court shall, if it is in the interest of justice, transfer such action or appeal to any other such court in which the action or appeal could have been brought at the time it was filed or noticed.” 28 U.S.C. § 1631. However, we cannot transfer this case to the Federal Circuit because, under the law of that Circuit, Nguyen’s appeal could not have been brought in the Federal Circuit at the time when it was noticed in this court. The District Court’s contempt finding and intent to award sanctions are not final, appealable orders under Federal Circuit law because no final judgment has been issued on sanctions. We therefore lack the authority to transfer this appeal to the Federal Circuit under 28 U.S.C. § 1631.

In these circumstances, we are obliged to dismiss Nguyen’s appeal for want of jurisdiction. The case will be remanded to the District Court for final disposition of any pending matters. If Nguyen is aggrieved after the District Court acts on the contempt finding and possible sanctions, she may appeal to the Federal Circuit.

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