Complex litigation about the settlement of a patent dispute led to two straightforward jurisdictional holdings in National Oilwell Varco, LP v Auto-Dril, Inc.:

  1. Res judicata still applies. While “[p]arties may not waive the issue of subject matter jurisdiction,” it is also true that “[a] party that has had an opportunity to liitgate the question of subject-matter jurisdiction may not … reopen that question in a collateral attack upon an adverse judgment.” That principle disposed of an argument that, in the earlier case where the settlement was reached, the district court lacked jurisdiction because of problems with the underlying patent.
  2.  “‘Interpretation’ means — interpretation. In that earlier case, the district court’s order implementing the settlement said that it retained jurisdiction “in the event of a dispute concerning that agreement, to interpret and enforce the agreement, if necessary.” That langugage did not extend to subject-matter jurisdiction over a fraudulent-inducement claim, as that “is a tort claim falling outside the scope of the district court’s retained jurisdiction.”

No. 21-40648 (May 12, 2023).

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