When a claim of patent infringement is a necessary element of a legal malpractice suit, those suits should be tried in federal court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has ruled in a case of first impression.

On Oct. 15 the Washington, D.C.-based appeals court upheld a ruling by U.S. District Judge Royal Furgeson of San Antonio that denied a request by Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld of Dallas and Branscomb, a Corpus Christi, Texas-based firm, to remand a malpractice suit to state court.