Digest of United Access Techs., LLC v. Centurytel Broadband Servs. LLC, et al., No. 2014-1347 (Fed. Cir. Feb. 12, 2015) (precedential). On appeal from D. Del. Before Newman, Bryson, and O’Malley.

Procedural Posture: Plaintiff appealed from the judgment that it was collaterally estopped from asserting a patent because of a jury verdict against it in a prior action. CAFC reversed.

  • Collateral Estoppel: Plaintiff’s predecessor previously asserted the same claims against another party based on the standard for Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) technology. The jury in that case returned a general verdict of non-infringement and the district court denied the plaintiff’s motion for JMOL, ruling that the jury’s verdict could be upheld on either of two theories: 1) the jury could have concluded that the plaintiff failed to carry its burden to show that ADSL technology as set forth by the standard infringed the claims, or 2) the jury could have could have found that the defendant’s telephone service system did not include a telephone as required by the claims. The CAFC held that collateral estoppel does not apply in the instant case because the prior case did not decide whether the standard ADSL system infringed the claims, the disputed issue in this case, due to the two alternate theories supporting the jury verdict. Accordingly, the CAFC ruled that if the jury could have based its verdict on a ground other than the one in dispute, collateral estoppel does not bar future litigation of the disputed issue.