CAFC Outlines Difference Between Vacating and Reversing

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.


4 thoughts on “CAFC Outlines Difference Between Vacating and Reversing

  1. 4

    I think the difference is actually between remanding and rendering. Remanding sends the case back for further proceedings, which, as here, allows the district court to reconsider. Rendering does not allow the district court to reconsider, the CAFC renders judgment. The district court’s opinion is vacated in both instances.

  2. 3

    Is this distinction widely recognized by those in practice? I had never heard it so explicitly stated, but I always assumed that vacating doesn’t really tip the scales one way or the other.

  3. 1

    The headline says “…Difference Between Vacating and Remanding”. Shouldn’t it be the difference between vacating and *reversing*?

    [DDC] fixed — thanks for the correction.

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