E-Pass v. 3Com (Fed. Cir. 2007)
E-Pass filed its original complaint in 2000 and has been through one round of appeal. The earlier appeal focused on claim construction. In this appeal, E-Pass argued that the lower court didn't properly follow the CAFC's directions.
Once a case has been decided on appeal, the rule adopted is to be applied, right or wrong, absent exceptional circumstances.
The CAFC had vacated the lower court's summary judgment and remanded for further proceedings. On remand, the lower court considered the new claim construction handed down, but once again concluded that summary judgment against E-Pass was proper.
On appeal, the CAFC agreed with the lower court -- finding that its earlier decision was not a reversal. Rather, by vacating the decision the court implied that summary judgment may be proper after further consideration of the facts.
By vacating, we signaled that, although the district court’s prior decision rested upon erroneous grounds, a proper claim construction might support a judgment (summary or otherwise) in favor of either party.