Microthin.com, Inc. v. Siliconezone USA, LLC, No. 06 C 1522, 2006 WL 3302825 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 14, 2006) (Kendall, J.).
Judge Kendall held that plaintiff’s patent claim did not give the Court supplemental jurisdiction over defendants’ assault and battery, trespass, breach of contract and tortious interference counterclaims, even though the counterclaims were arguably related to plaintiff’s patent infringement allegations. The Court did, however, have diversity jurisdiction over the counterclaims. After concluding it had jurisdiction, the Court dismissed the assault and battery counterclaims because there is no tort of assault against a corporation in Illinois. The Court also dismissed the breach of contract claim, because plaintiff/counter-defendant was neither a party to the contract, nor an intended beneficiary.
Defendant Siliconezone alleged that Siliconezone and plaintiff Microthin.com ("Microthin") both had booths at the March 2006 International Home and Housewares Show (the "Show"). According to Siliconezone, during the show Microthin employees repeatedly entered Siliconezone’s booth and inspected Siliconezone’s merchandise and prototypes. Microthin’s employees also allegedly made statements while in Siliconezone’s booth and around Siliconezone’s potential customers about Siliconezone’s infringement of Microthin’s patent rights. These allegations formed the basis for the trespass, breach of contract and tortious interference claims.
The allegedly breached contract was Microthin’s contract with the Show for its booth space. The contract required that Microthin not access other booths without authorization , not interfere with other vendors’ legitimate activities and that Microthin be courteous to other vendors. While Microthin may have violated each of those provisions, Siliconezone was not a party to the contract or its intended beneficiary, so Siliconezone had no breach of contract claim.
When Siliconezone’s president Karyo attempted to discuss his issues regarding these actions with Microthin’s founder, counter-defendant O’Malley, O’Malley allegedly bumped Karyo’s chest, knocked him backward and yelled "You’re ripping us off! You’re ripping off our patents." These allegations make up the assault and battery counterclaim. But because the claim was brought by Siliconezone, instead of by Karyo, the allegedly assaulted individual, it was dismissed.