Patent Holders in the United States Can’t Enforce Foreign Patents in US Courts

From May It Please the Court: 

Many EU countries and patent holders outside the US breathed a sigh of relief earlier this week because of something that didn't happen.  The United States Federal Court of Appeals decided not to decide.

Foreign patents, that is.

It seems that Jan K. Voda, M.D. wanted to enforce three Angioplasty guide catheter patents granted by the USPTO to him.  He brought suit against Cordis Corporation, a medical device manufacturer in Oklahoma.  Voda also alleged that Cordis was selling the catheter in foreign countries and those sales violated foreign patents that Voda held.

Since Voda was already in US District Court in Oklahoma over his three US patents, he figured that he might as well get two for one:  he asked the Court to assume supplemental jurisdiction over the foreign patents.  That court let him try, but the US Federal Court of Appeals reversed that decision.

Trouble is, there are several foreign conventions and provisions in US law that require us to respect their laws and them to respect ours.  The Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property requires the signatory countries to maintain the independence of each others' patent systems.

It worked.  US patent holders can't litigate foreign patents in US courts, but will have to go to the foreign country where the patent is being infringed.  It should work in reverse, too.

Maybe we need an international patent court?