Congress To Hold Hearings on Jurisdiction of Federal Circuit

The IPO is reporting that on Thursday March 17, 2005 at 3:30 p.m., the House IP subcommittee will hold a hearing on “Holmes Group, the Federal Circuit and the State of Patent Appeals.”  In Holmes Group v. Vornado, the Supreme Court held that the Federal Circuit does not have jurisdiction over cases where patent issues are only raised in a counterclaim.  In its 9-0 opinion (Scalia, J.), the Court reasoned that “arising under” language of the statute so limits the jurisdiction of the Federal Circuit’s.

The IP Subcommittee is chaired by Congressman Lamar Smith of Texas.  The ranking Democrat is Howard Berman of California.

My sense is that Congress intended the Federal Circuit to handle all patent cases, and just made a technical error in drafting the statute (hence the Scalia opinion).  If the various circuits do hear patent cases, I would be greatly in favor of applying Federal Circuit law as precedential.