MacLean-Fogg Co. v. Edge Composites, L.L.C., No. 08 C 6367, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Apr. 14, 2009) (Conlon, J.).
Judge Conlon granted defendants’ motion to dismiss. Plaintiffs (collectively "MacLean") alleged that defendant Edge Composites ("Edge") violated plaintiffs’ carbon fiber bicycle wheel patent and together with the individual defendant, a former MacLean employee and current Edge employee, violated MacLean’s trade secrets, as well as breaching the individual defendant’s nondisclosure agreement with MacLean. First, the Court held that the MacLean entities that lacked an ownership in the patent when the complaint was filed lacked standing. It was not sufficient that the MacLean entities entered an agreement creating joint ownership amongst them after the complaint was filed.
The Court also held that it lacked supplemental jurisdiction over MacLean’s state law trade secret and breach of contract claims. The patent infringement claims were based upon manufacture and sale of carbon fiber wheels. The trade secret and breach of contract claims were based upon defendants’ alleged use of MacLean’s trade secrets. Because MacLean never met its burden of showing how the claims overlapped factually, the Court dismissed the state law claims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
The Court also held that it lacked personal jurisdiction over the individual defendant because MacLean did not respond to that part of defendants’ summary judgment argument. The Court also held that it lacked personal jurisdiction over Edge. Edge was not registered to do business in Illinois, had no facilities in Illinois, had no assets in Illinois, did not advertise in Illinois, and did not do business with Illinois residents. The only Illinois sales MacLean proved were by its representatives for purposes of this suit. And Edge’s website did not allow viewers to purchase products.
Finally, the Court dismissed MacLean’s trade secret claim for failure to state a claim. MacLean’s trade secret misappropriation allegations were all made on information and belief. The Court held that information and belief alone was not enough, unless the facts were inaccessible to MacLean and MacLean had a reasonable basis to believe the facts were true. Because MacLean did not provide any grounds for its suspicion, information and belief was not sufficient.