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University of Illinois Foundation v. Blonder-Tongue Laboratories Inc.

UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SEVENTH CIRCUIT


decided: July 25, 1972.

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS FOUNDATION, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
BLONDER-TONGUE LABORATORIES, INC., DEFENDANT-APPELLEE

Duffy and Castle, Senior Circuit Judges, and Fairchild, Circuit Judge.

Author: Per Curiam

This is an appeal from a judgment, on remand from the Supreme Court, that plaintiff patent owner is estopped, by a prior adjudication of invalidity, from asserting the validity of its patent in this action. The decision of the district court is reported,*fn1 and sets forth the history of this litigation and the reasons, consistent with the decision of the Supreme Court,*fn2 for sustaining the defense of collateral estoppel.

We adopt the opinion of the district court, adding the following comments:

On oral argument on appeal, plaintiff stressed its claim that although the courts which decided Winegard [University of Illinois Foundation v. Winegard, 271 F. Supp. 412, aff'd 402 F.2d 125] purported to employ Graham [Graham v. John Deere Co., 383 U.S. 1, 86 S. Ct. 684, 15 L. Ed. 2d 545] standards in deciding the subject matter was obvious, they did so defectively. The defect was said to be reliance upon the proposition that the results achieved by Isbell, though unpredictable, were achieved by logical exploration within known principles. Review by the court which considers the plea of collateral estoppel of the reasoning of the court which made the prior adjudication would be inconsistent with the doctrine of collateral estoppel. There can be no question but that the Winegard courts did "grasp the technical subject matter and issues in suit." Even if those courts erred in the reasoning challenged by plaintiff, we are confident that such error would not be a defect of the magnitude contemplated by the Supreme Court as a reason why the court in the second action should deny the effect of estoppel to the earlier judgment.

Recent decisions of other courts are consistent with the decision of the district court in this case.*fn3

The judgment appealed from is affirmed.

Disposition

Affirmed.


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