Bobel v. U Lighting Am., Inc., No. 12 C 6064, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Feb. 16, 2013) (Kennelly, J.).
Judge Kennelly granted in part defendant U Lighting Group’s (“ULG”) motion to dismiss plaintiff’s patent case for lack of personal jurisdiction and improper service. The Court held that personal jurisdiction was proper:
- ULG identifies co-defendant U Lighting America (“ULA”) as its US office; and
- ULG frequently communicates with ULA.
But while the Court had personal jurisdiction, plaintiff did not properly serve ULG. Plaintiff served ULG by personally serving ULA’s president. Pursuant to Fed. R. CIv. P. 4(f)(3), plaintiff could have served ULG via its representative. But plaintiff can only serve in that manner with leave of the Court, which ULG never sought.
Flava Works, Inc. v. Rowader, No. 12 C 7181, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Nov. 16, 2012) (Lefkow, J.).
Judge Lefkow denied defendant’s Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(2) motion to dismiss plaintiff Flava Works copyright suit for lack of jurisdiction and improper venue. Defendant - a California citizen who did not direct any business at Illinois - would not have been subject to general or personal jurisdiction in Illinois. But defendant accepted a valid forum selection clause including Chicago by using Flava Works’ website. While it could be considered an un-negotiable contract of adhesion, defendant could have used another website with a different forum selection clause.
Universal Beauty Prods., Inc. v. Morning Glory Prods., Inc., No. 10 C 3212, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Oct. 18, 2012) (Grady, J.).
Judge Grady denied defendant Morning Glory’s motion to transfer venue to the E.D. North Carolina in this competition-based false patent marking case. The parties agreed that venue was proper in each district. The Court, therefore, only considered the convenience factor and the public interest.
Unlike many prior false marking cases, plaintiff UBP’s choice of forum was given weight as defendant MGP’s competitor who was allegedly harmed by the false marking in this jurisdiction.
The alleged false marking decisions were made in North Carolina, but UBP’s harm allegedly occurred in this district. So, the situs of facts and access to judges were both neutral. Convenience of witnesses weighed slightly in MGP’s favor. Only MGP identified local third party witnesses. But the input of those witnesses was unclear. Convenience of the parties also weighed slightly in MGP’s favor, but the Court balanced that by requiring depositions of MGP personnel to occur where they are located.
Public Interest Factor
The public interest factors were neutral. Both districts had an interest in keeping cases related to their resident corporations. And both districts were well-versed in the law.