Removal to District Court Proper Where Patent Legal Malpractice Action Involves Substantial Questions of Federal Patent and Trademark Law


The United States District Court for the Eastern District of California issued a ruling on January 20, 2011 concluding that a legal malpractice action alleging negligent prosecution of a patent fell within the court’s exclusive jurisdiction and that, therefore, removal to federal court was proper.

In Gerawan Farming v. Worrel & Worell (2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8447, Case No. 1:10cv02011 AWIDLB), a client fruit grower filed a state court legal malpractice action against two law firms, alleging that they prepared and prosecuted various patents in a way that created a risk that a trademark belonging to the client could be damaged or invalidated. The law firms removed the action to federal court on the ground that it had exclusive jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. section 1338. The client filed a motion to remand, asserting that any federal issues raised by the complaint were tangential.

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