Halo Creative & Design Ltd. v. Comptoir Des Indes Inc., No. 14 C 8196, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Jan. 29, 2015) (Leinenweber, J.).

Judge Leinenweber granted defendants’ (a Canadian company and an individual Canadian citizen) motion to dismiss pursuant to forum non conveniens arguing that plaintiff’s (a Hong Kong entity) copyright infringement claims should be brought in Canada.

No party had a physical presence in Illinois.  And all parties were subject to jurisdiction in Canada, plaintiff because it would file the suit.  While plaintiff was seeking to enforce US copyrights, there was nothing preventing plaintiff from asserting similar rights in Canada, and the Canadian court would be free to enjoin export of the accused furniture to the US, to the extent that was warranted.  Additionally, Canada and US are both signatories to the Berne Convention, which requires that member countries extend IP rights granted to its citizens to foreign nationals.  Even if Canadian law was not identical to US law, Canada provided an avenue for redress, which was sufficient.

The Court also held that ease of access to evidence would be better in Canada because defendants’ records and witnesses were there and because some of the documents were expected to be in French, which the Canadian courts could read, but would require translation for the US court.

Finally, the public interest did not weigh against dismissing the complaint.  The Canadian courts were familiar with their IP laws.