GMAC Real Estate, LLC v. E.L. Cutler & Assocs., Inc., 472 F. Supp.2d 960 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 20, 2006) (Bucklo, J.).
Judge Bucklo held that the Court lacked personal jurisdiction over defendant and dismissed plaintiff’s complaint. Plaintiff, a franchiser of residential real estate brokerages, brought this suit alleging that defendant, a former franchisee, breached its agreement with plaintiff and after the breach continued using plaintiff’s trade and service marks. The Court held that defendant’s continued business relationship with plaintiff after plaintiff moved from New Jersey to Illinois was not sufficient to create specific jurisdiction. While defendant had exchanged some communications with plaintiff in Illinois and come to Illinois for business meetings on one or more occasions, the Court lacked jurisdiction because the parties negotiated the underlying agreement in New Jersey (plaintiff’s prior main office) and Ohio (defendant’s location); defendant paid its franchising fees to plaintiff’s Pennsylvania office; defendant’s post-termination obligations which it allegedly did not meet were to have been performed in Ohio; and plaintiff’s letter to defendant terminating the franchise agreement had a New Jersey return address. Furthermore, the Court held that the location of defendant’s alleged trademark infringement and cybersquatting was in Ohio, not Illinois.