A. Samuel Oddi


This article will first provide a brief history of the jurisdictional controversy between federal courts and between federal courts and state courts. Then, the question will be examined of how the subject matter jurisdictional question has been resolved with respect to patent attorney malpractice cases to the extent it has been to date in the federal and state courts. The manner in which the case-within-a-case doctrine or methodology has been used in deciding the jurisdictional question will also be investigated. In addition, the relevance of the use of the judgment or non-judgment model to determine patent attorney malpractice will be explored. Consideration will also be given to those decisions that have opposed a broad imposition of federal jurisdiction over malpractice cases involving patent attorneys. In conclusion, some general observations will be offered concerning the jurisdictional and substantive issues raised in patent attorney malpractice cases. A detailed discussion of all jurisdictional issues arising in patent attorney malpractice cases, however, will not be undertaken here as the focus of this article is the case-within-a-case methodology in the resolution of the basic question of whether there is federal or state jurisdiction over the case.