Modern Trade Comms., Inc. v. PSMJ Resources, Inc., No. 10 C 5380, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Aug. 19, 2011) (Pallmeyer, J.).

Judge Pallmeyer granted defendants PSMJ Resources’ ("PSMJ") and Oser Communications’ ("Oser") motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction in this Lanham Act case involving plaintiff Modern Trade Communications’ ("MTC") rights in its Metal Construction News mark for a metal industry trade publication. At the Metalcon tradeshow in 2010, Oser distributed a daily publication entitled Metal Daily News at PSMJ’s direction. MTC alleged that the Metal Daily News title infringed its Metal Construction News mark, which MTC used to publish an official show guide at the same conference. 

PSMJ was a Massachusetts company without offices or personnel in Illinois. It approximated that 3% of its revenue at the 2009 Metalcon show in Florida was from Illinois residents. PSMJ’s website was not interactive. PSMJ did produce six training seminars unrelated to Metalcon in Illinois. PSMJ’s small revenues from Illinois residents did not create general jurisdiction. While related to Metalcon, PSMJ’s contract with a third party in Illinois did not create specific jurisdiction. And PSMJ’s production of the 2002 Metalcon in Illinois did not create specific jurisdiction because the accused Metal Daily News was only distributed at the 2010 Metalcon in Las Vegas. The Court, therefore, had neither general nor specific jurisdiction over PSMJ.


Oser was an Arizona company without offices or personnel in Illinois, although Oser did distribute publications at two to three trade shows per year in Chicago. Oser’s website was passive, except that the 2010 Metal Daily News was available on the site for downloading. Attendance at two to three trade shows each year in Chicago did not create the systematic contacts necessary for general jurisdiction. Oser’s website was not sufficient to create specific jurisdiction. MTC made no allegation that the website was targeted at Illinois, and the availability of the publication as a free download was not sufficient either. And MTC did not allege how Oser’s alleged infringement in Las Vegas was tied to Oser’s Illinois activities. Furthermore, the sale of an advertisement in the Metal Daily News to an Illinois resident, even combined with the website allegations, was not sufficient to create specific jurisdiction.


The Court also denied MTC’s motion to amend because it did not allege any new facts that might create personal jurisdiction.