A federal court in California recently rejected efforts to remove a state court arbitration confirmation proceeding to federal court. The underlying royalties dispute had been addressed in an arbitration, and ultimately the dispute arrived in California state court in a proceeding to confirm the arbitration award. The defendant opposed the petition for confirmation and filed a separate petition to vacate or modify the award. That pleading included a count for “Declaratory Judgment for No Liability under Federal Patent Laws.” Based on the assertion of federal relief in its own petition, the defendant filed a notice of removal. The federal court rejected the defendant’s assertion of jurisdiction and remanded the case back to state court. The court concluded that there was no subject matter jurisdiction — despite the patent-related request for relief — due to the limited nature of the proceedings before the state court. The court determined that the declaratory judgment count did not belong in the state court action in the first place, and it ruled that issues of patent law need not be decided to resolve the limited issues presented in the case. In sum, the court refused to allow the defendant “to create jurisdiction where none can possibly exist in order to bring a properly-situated case before a new forum.”

Amkor Tech., Inc. v. Tessera, Inc., 5:14-CV-03604 EJD, 2014 WL 4467715 (USDC N.D. Cal. Sept. 9, 2014).