This Article proceeds as follows: Part I of the Article begins by laying the statutory and constitutional foundation of "arising under" jurisdiction. The current connection between "arising under" jurisdiction and federal question jurisdiction is discussed. Part I also fully sets forth the well-pleaded complaint rule, and discusses removal jurisdiction, which is governed by the concept of "arising under" jurisdiction. As necessary background to understanding the Court's reasoning in Holmes and why the case prompts a general discussion on federal jurisdiction implications, Part I concludes by defining a district court's jurisdiction over patent cases, the Federal Circuit's appellate jurisdiction over patent cases, and how these two areas of jurisdiction fit within the broader scheme of federal question jurisdiction. Part II of the Article focuses on the Court's decision in Holmes and the basic holding of the case. The immediate ramifications of the Holmes decision on the Federal Circuit's appellate jurisdiction are briefly discussed. Part II concludes by discussing what the Supreme Court said about the well-pleaded complaint rule in general in the Holmes decision. Part III of the Article discusses the implication of the well-pleaded complaint rule on a federal court's original jurisdiction, removal jurisdiction, and exclusive federal jurisdiction over a federal law counterclaim. Part IV evaluates the policy implications of the wellpleaded complaint rule as applied to counterclaims. The rule's ability to frustrate the purposes behind federal question jurisdiction is discussed. In addition, how the rule can disturb a plaintiffs or defendant's legitimate interests and introduce inefficiency into the judicial process are examined. Part V of the Article discusses potential statutory solutions-ways in which the detrimental effects of the well-pleaded complaint rule may be prevented. As a final note, the Article suggests that the Federal Circuit's appellate jurisdiction over patent cases be untied from federal district courts' "arising under" jurisdiction to stop decisions unique to this specialized appellate court from visiting general questions of federal jurisdiction jurisprudence.
Christopher A. Cotropia, Counterclaims, the Well-Pleaded Complaint, and Federal Jurisdiction, 33 Hofstra L. Rev. 1 (2004).