On October 13, 2023, the Federal Circuit vacated a judgment of invalidity based on collateral estoppel from a related case. Finjan LLC v. SonicWall, Inc., Case No. 22-1048 (Fed. Cir. Oct. 13, 2023). In that related case, a district court granted summary judgment on the same patents, but the summary judgment was later vacated and remanded. Id. at 8.
The Federal Circuit ruled that it “cannot uphold applying collateral estoppel based on a vacated judgment,” reasoning that “[i]f a court reverses or vacates a judgment upon which a collateral estoppel decision is based, then collateral estoppel can no longer apply based on that decision.” Finjan, Case No. 22-1048 at 9 (citing Mills v. City of Covina, 921 F.3d 1161, 1170 & n.2 (9th Cir. 2019)).