Thompson v. Microsoft (Fed. Cir. 2006).
Thompson sued Microsoft for unjust enrichment under Michigan law. Arguing that Microsoft stole his idea, patented it, and implemented it in various products. In its motion to dismiss, Microsoft argued that the claim was preempted by federal patent law. (citing Ultra-Precision).
Instead of hearing the appeal, however, the CAFC declined jurisdiction because the case did not arise under federal patent laws as required by Christianson & Holmes v. Vornado.
Thompson’s well-pleaded complaint does not establish that the right to relief necessarily depends on resolution of a substantial question of federal patent law. Thus, the district court’s jurisdiction does not “aris[e] under” section 1338.
In particular, the court noted that preemption alone does not create jurisdiction. An inventorship issue might create an issue, but Thompson’s claim could have theoretically succeeded without proving inventorship (in the strict patent sense).
Case transferred to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.