In a case of first impression for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, a federal judge has ruled that a plaintiff in a patent case is not collaterally estopped from litigating issues relating to claim construction — so-called Markman issues — that were ruled on in previous litigation if the prior case settled.

In his 12-page opinion in Graco Children’s Products Inc. v. Regalo International LLC, U.S. District Judge Robert F. Kelly ruled that Graco cannot be bound by the claim construction rulings handed down in 1996 by Senior U.S. District Judge Louis C. Bechtle in Graco Children’s Products v. Century Products Co.

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