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Archived updates for Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Motion to Stay Permanent Injunction Qualifies as Notice of Appeal

In Int'l Rectifier Corp. v. IXYS Corp., the Federal Circuit held that filing a motion to stay the permanent injunction pending appeal with the district court within the thirty-day time period for filing a notice of appeal specified by Fed. R. App. P. 4(a)(1)(A) qualified as a notice of appeal:

In Smith v. Barry, the Supreme Court held that "[i]f a document filed within the time specified by Rule 4 gives the notice required by Rule 3, it is effective as a notice of appeal." 502 U.S. 244, 248–49 (1992). Under Rule 3, an adequate notice must meet three requirements. It must "(A) specify the party or parties taking the appeal . . . ; (B) designate the judgment, order, or part thereof being appealed; and (C) name the court to which the appeal is taken." Fed. R. App. P. 3(c)(1). IXYS’s motion to stay sets forth all three pieces of information: "[(A)] [D]efendant IXYS Corporation (‘IXYS’) will, and hereby does, move the Court for an order staying the execution of [(B)] its September 14, 2006, Final Judgment and enforcement of the permanent injunction entered on the same date pending resolution of IXYS’s appeal to the [(C)] Federal Circuit Court of Appeals." Mot. to Stay, Int’l Rectifier Corp. v. IXYS Corp., No. 00-CV-6756 (C.D. Cal. Sept. 28, 2006) (Dckt. No. 720) (emphases added). Under Smith, both IR and the district court were therefore on notice of IXYS’s intent to appeal. We thus construe the motion as a notice of appeal.

Acting through a motions panel, we tentatively came to the same conclusion in our order of January 18, 2007, denying IXYS’s stay pending appeal. IR responds, however, that since that time, the Supreme Court’s decision in Bowles v. Russell undermines our holding and cabins the leniency required by Smith. In Bowles, the Supreme Court emphasized the jurisdictional nature of notices of appeal and held that the jurisdictional rules lack equitable exceptions. 127 S. Ct. 2360 (2007). However, Bowles concerned the timing requirements of Rule 4 rather than the form requirements of Rule 3. Id. at 2362. The petitioner in Bowles had sought and been granted an extension of time to file a notice of appeal from an order denying his petition for habeas corpus relief. Id. Because the district court’s order incorrectly set a deadline beyond the fourteen-day window authorized by the relevant statute, Bowles filed his notice of appeal—which undisputedly complied with the requirements of Rule 3, as well as with the deadline purportedly set by the district court—two days later than was authorized by statute. Id. The Supreme Court upheld the court of appeals’ dismissal of his appeal for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. Id. at 2367. This strict application of Rule 4 has no bearing on the issue before us today. As mentioned, IXYS’s motion for a stay was undisputedly filed within the time limit for a notice of appeal. IXYS does not seek an equitable exception to a requirement of the rules. Rather, the only question is whether its motion to stay meets the requirements to be a notice of appeal, an inquiry dependent on Smith and the language of Rule 3, not Bowles or Rule 4. It does.

Accordingly, we have jurisdiction, and we proceed to the merits.

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