The UCL Practitioner
Tuesday, June 08, 2004
17200 and patent law
In Holiday Matinee, Inc. v. Rambus, Inc., ___ Cal.App.4th ___ (May 27, 2004), the Court of Appeal held that the federal courts had exclusive jurisdiction over certain antitrust and UCL claims, because "[the] claims required a showing that [the defendant's] patents were invalid and unenforceable .... [Q]uestions of patent validity and enforceablility, like patent infringement, are substantial issues of patent law that invoke exclusive federal jurisdiction under [28 U.S.C.] section 1338(a)." (Slip op. at 15.) In a footnote, the court observed: "Our conclusion here is not meant to suggest that a plaintiff, under no circumstances, may allege claims in California courts under the Cartwright Act and/or the Unfair Competition Law, merely because they involve patents in some respect. As we have observed, the mere fact that the action involves a patent, albeit incidentally, does not mean that the case is subject to exclusive jurisdiction of the [federal courts]. We hold, however, in this instance that [the plaintiff] has alleged claims, the resolution of which depends upon a substantial question of patent law." (Slip op. at 16 n.5.)
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