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Voda v. Cordis Corp.

This is an interlocutory appeal by Cordis Corp. from a decision of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma assuming supplemental subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367 over the foreign patent infringement claims of Jan K. Voda, M.D. (“Voda”). The district court established jurisdiction over Voda’s original claims of U.S. patent infringement pursuant to § 1338. In a subsequent order, the district court granted Voda leave to amend his complaint to add infringement claims based on foreign patents. Voda’s amended complaint alleged infringement taking place outside the United States in violation of patents issued by various foreign countries.

The district court found subject matter jurisdiction over the foreign patent claims pursuant to the supplemental jurisdiction statute § 1367. Voda v. Cordis Corp., No. 03-1512, slip op. at 2 (W.D. Okla. Aug. 2, 2004). The district court certified its order for interlocutory review pursuant to § 1292(b). We agreed that the interlocutory appeal “involve[s] a controlling question of law to which there is a substantial difference of opinion and for which an immediate appeal may materially advance the ultimate termination of the litigation” and thus, granted Voda’s petition for interlocutory appeal of “whether the district court has supplemental subject matter jurisdiction over Dr. Voda's five foreign patents.” Voda v. Cordis Corp., 122 Fed. App’x 515 (Fed. Cir. 2005). This court has jurisdiction pursuant to § 1292(b) and (c).

In Stein Associates, Inc. v. Heat & Control, Inc., 748 F.2d 653, 658 (Fed. Cir. 1984), this court held that U.S. district courts had no discretionary power to enjoin a party from enforcing a foreign patent before a foreign tribunal. We stated unequivocally that “the issues are not the same, one action involving United States patents and the other involving British patents” and that “[o]nly a British court, applying British law, can determine validity and infringement of British patents.” In this case, we are presented with a different issue but one that raises similar concerns: whether a district court may exercise supplemental jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367 over infringement claims based on foreign patents. For the reasons discussed below, we conclude that the district court erred in granting leave to amend based on § 1367. Accordingly, we vacate the order of the district court granting leave to amend and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

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