On August 12th, the appeals court brought to an end the long saga of the court battle pitting Spellbinders against QuicKutz and Lifestyle Crafts with an opinion that consisted of a single word – “AFFIRMED” – confirming the previous ruling that QuicKutz had won from the lower court.
Procedurally, there are two avenues of appeal open after losing a case in U.S. Appeals Court. One is to request the case be re-heard “en banc”, meaning before the entire three judge Appeals Court panel. To secure an en banc hearing, however, the party must be able to cite a point in the original appeals decision that they want to argue with the court. Since the Spellbinders decision was issued without an accompanying opinion, the company is effectively denied the option of an en banc appeal.
The only other option would be an appeal to the United States Supreme Court, which is extremely selective about which cases it hears. After the case was decided at the Appeals level without even an opinion being issued, the Supreme Court would appear to be off limits as well, bringing the case to an end except for the continued fight over the payment of attorney’s fees from the litigation.
Eric Ruff, President of QuicKutz, release the following statement to Scrapbook Update about the decision:
This is finally over! What a wonderful relief to be fully vindicated by the courts on all accounts. As of today, Spellbinders’ patent is officially unenforceable and all threats it represented cannot be used against anyone else. I sincerely hope that customers and retailers who were reluctant to consider QuicKutz and Lifestyle Crafts products due to perceived legal threats will now take a renewed look at them.
Spellbinders and Lifestyle Crafts have not responded to a request for comment on the matter.