Federal Circuit declines jurisdiction in ownership dispute

Federal Circuit transfers appeal to the Eleventh Circuit, holding that it lacked jurisdiction because the case did not arise under patent law. The case involves a dispute over ownership rights of a patented dental implant system.

Krauser v. Biohorizons, Inc., ___ F.3d. ___ (June 4, 2014) (Lourie, Clevenger, DYK) (S.D. Fla.: Marra) (2 of 5 stars)

Law of the Case: The Eleventh Circuit previously held that the appeal fell within the Federal Circuit's exclusive jurisdiction and transferred it to the Federal Circuit. The Federal Circuit noted that the Eleventh Circuit's jurisdictional holding would ordinarily be law of the case under Christianson v. Colt Industries Operating Corp., 486 U.S. 800 (1988), but held that applying law of the case was inappropriate here because there was not even a "plausible basis" for Federal Circuit jurisdiction. Slip op. at 8.

Federal Circuit Jurisdiction: Although patent inventorship claims would ordinarily suffice for Federal Circuit jurisdiction, the inventorship claims here did not establish jurisdiction because they were withdrawn in Krauser's second amended complaint. Moreover, Krauser's state law claims based on prior settlement agreements and a quantum meruit theory did not arise under patent law, because "[t]he resolution of the inventorship question is neither 'necessary' nor 'substantial' to the case. A claim of ownership does not necessarily require consideration of patent law inventorship." Id. at 11 (emphasis in original). Finally, Federal Circuit jurisdiction could not be based on the possibility that Krauser sought remedies preempted by federal patent law, because federal preemption is normally a defense and thus does not appear on the face of the well-pleaded complaint.