[ Scalia ]
[ Opinion of Stevens ]
[ Ginsburg ]
THE HOLMES GROUP, INC., PETITIONER v.
VORNADO AIR CIRCULATION
ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FEDERAL CIRCUIT
[June 3, 2002]
Justice Ginsburg, with whom Justice OConnor joins, concurring in the judgment.
For reasons stated by Chief Judge Markey, writing for a unanimous en banc Federal Circuit in Aerojet-General Corp. v. Machine Tool Works, Oerlikon-Buehrle Ltd., 895 F.2d 736 (1990), I conclude that, when the claim stated in a compulsory counterclaim aris[es] under federal patent law and is adjudicated on the merits by a federal district court, the Federal Circuit has exclusive appellate jurisdiction over that adjudication and other determinations made in the same case. See id., at 741744 (distinguishing Christianson v. Colt Industries Operating Corp., 486 U.S. 800 (1988), in which this Court affirmed the jurisdictional decision of the Federal Circuit; in discussing the well-pleaded complaint rule, the Federal Circuit observed that a patent infringement counterclaim, unlike a patent issue raised only as a defense, has as its own, independent jurisdictional base 28 U.S.C. § 1338 i.e., such a claim discretely arises under the patent laws).
The question now before this Court bears not at all on a plaintiffs choice of trial forum. The sole question presented here concerns Congress allocation of adjudicatory authority among the federal courts of appeals. At that appellate level, Congress sought to eliminate forum shopping and to advance uniformity in the interpretation and application of federal patent law. See generally R. Dreyfuss, The Federal Circuit: A Case Study in Specialized Courts, 64 N. Y. U. L. Rev. 1, 3037 (1989).
The Courts opinion dwells on district court authority. See ante, at 46. But, all agree, Congress left that authority entirely untouched. I would attend, instead, to the unique context at issue, and give effect to Congress endeavor to grant the Federal Circuit exclusive appellate jurisdiction at least over district court adjudications of patent claims. See R. Dreyfuss, 64 N. Y. U. L. Rev., at 36.
In the instant case, however, no patent claim was actually adjudicated. For that sole reason, I join the Courts judgment.