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MaxLinear, Inc. v. CF CRESPE LLC

Collateral Estoppel Requires Reversal of IPR Confirmation of Patentability

MaxLinear, Inc. v. CF CRESPE LLC2018 WL 542676 (Fed. Cir. Jan. 25, 2018) (DYK, Schall, Reyna) (PTAB) (3 of 5 stars)

Fed Cir reverses IPR decision of patentability as to independent claims, and remands as to dependent claims. As to the independent claims, collateral estoppel established unpatentability of CRESPE’s claims as the Fed Cir had previously affirmed decisions from other IPRs addressing those claims. That one of those IPRs became final while the present case was pending on appeal is irrelevant. “[I]ssue preclusion applies even though the precluding judgment comes into existence while the case as to which the preclusion is sought (this case) is on appeal.” Op. at 6 (quoting Soverain Software, 778 F.3d 1311, 1315 (Fed. Cir. 2015)). That MaxLinear was not a party as to those cases is irrelevant, as CRESPE’s predecessor-in-interest Cresta was a party.

As to most of the dependent claims, the PTAB’s determination of patentability rested entirely on its analysis of the independent claims. The opinion notes that “related claims that present identical issues of patentability” must also be held invalid under collateral estoppel, per Ohio Willow Wood, 735 F.3d 1333 (Fed. Cir. 2013). Op. at 7–8. On remand, the PTAB can evaluate patentability of these claims.

KEYWORDS: INTER PARTES REVIEW; COLLATERAL ESTOPPEL