I was at one of the firms that Minton sued and, in fact, if I recall right I met Mr. Minton during the initial interview process. Then I left the firm. The rest, as they say, is history. Eventually, allegedly the firm did not properly plead the experimental use exception to the on-sale bar, and that, allegedly, caused Minton to lose his case.
The case bounced around from state to federal court, but eventually the Supreme Court, on appeal from the Texas Supreme Court, did not present a federal question and so should be decided by the state courts. Along the way, it said that there will seldom be a "backwards looking" malpractice claim that will be in federal court. So, if a plaintiff claims that it should have gotten a broader patent, but did not because of negligence, chances are no federal jurisdiction.
I watched the oral argument in Gunn, and the Court (a) does not like or undertand patents; and (b) realized how far astray the CAFC's jurisprudence on subject matter jurisdiction had gone. That's a bad combination.
But I'm writing because of an odd thing I encountered in a real state case involving state marital and estate law: the spouse of a named inventor in some community property states has an undivided equal interest in the patent under state law. In the case I was an expert in, the firm had obtained an assignment from a husband, but not the spouse. The result was a claim by the spouse in the patent.
In a California case, which I was not involved in, this almost worked — the Federal Circuit seemed to acknowledge the spouse's interest in the patent, but held that a form that the spouse had filled out estopped her from claiming the interest.
So, the whole point of this "it is early Monday morning so don't complain if this is stream of concious" post is: a state judge is going to be a lot more likely to follow state law on ownership rights than a federal judge will be, so watch out for the Gunn effect on this issue!