Meeting of the Minds

It’s Only Ethical: A Uniformity Argument for Exclusive Federal Jurisdiction over Patent Legal Malpractice Claims

Joshua C. Vincent And Paul D. Swanson

©2013. Published in Landslide, Vol. 5, No. 5, May/June 2013, by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association or the copyright holder.

Recently the Supreme Court issued an opinion in Gunn v. Minton, a patent malpractice case originating in Texas.1 Gunn presented a divisive jurisdictional issue: whether state tort-law based professional malpractice claims stemming from federal patent infringement litigation should be brought in state or federal courts. At the heart of the matter is the interpretation and application of federal court “arising under” jurisdiction in light of Supreme Court and Federal Circuit precedents. In 2007, the Federal Circuit emphatically held that disputed and substantial patent issues in state court patent malpractice claims are subject to exclusive federal court jurisdiction.2

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