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Voda, M.D. v. Cordis Corporation

Posted in Opinion Commentary by Jake Ward on February 6, 2007

District Court Erred in Exercising Jurisdiction Over Foreign Patent Infringement Claims.

(Fed. Cir. 2007, 05-1238)

Voda is a resident of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  Cordis is a U.S.-based entity incorporated in Florida. The patents at issue relate generally to guiding catheters for use in interventional cardiology and include both U.S. and foreign patents issued from a common PCT application.  Voda sued Cordis in U.S. District Court (W.D. Okla.) and further moved to add claims of infringement of Voda’s European, British, Canadian, French, and German foreign patents.  Cordis opposed Voda’s attempt to amend its complaint to add foreign patent infringement claims on the basis that the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over such claims.  The district court granted the amended complaint on the theory that it could have supplemental jurisdiction over foreign patent claims. 

On appeal, the CAFC concluded that the district court erred in exercising jurisdiction over the foreign patent claims.  The Supreme Court has stated many times that the “district courts of the United States . . . are ‘courts of limited jurisdiction. They possess only that power authorized by Constitution and statute.’”  The Supreme Court has also noted that 28 U.S.C. § 1367  both “authorize[s] the district courts to exercise supplemental jurisdiction” and “confirms the discretionary nature of supplemental jurisdiction.”  However, the CAFC found that several reasons in this case would compel the district court to decline supplemental jurisdiction under § 1367, including: limitations imposed by treaties that are the “supreme law of the land” and considerations of comity, judicial economy, convenience, and fairness.

Dissent by Judge Newman.

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