Johnson a/k/a Sylvester Thompson v. Barrier p/k/a Eric B., No. 15 C 3928, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Jan. 4, 2017) (St. Eve, J.).

Judge St. Eve granted defendant UMG Recordings’ Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(2) motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction over plaintiff’s third amended complaint.  Of particular note, the court held

Weber-Stephen Prods., LLC v. Char-Broil, LLC, No. 16 C 4483, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Oct. 5, 2016) (Gettleman, J.).

Judge Gettleman denied defendant Char-Broil’s Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(2) motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction and granted Char-Broil’s corporate parent Bradley’s motion to dismiss on the same grounds. The Court also granted

Bobel v. U Lighting Am., Inc., No. 12 C 6064, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Feb. 12, 2013) (Kennelly, J.).

Judge Kennelly denied defendants U Lighting America and its sole officer and employee’s (collectively “ULA”) motion to dismiss this patent suit for lack of personal jurisdiction.  The Court had specific jurisdiction over ULA because ULA

Pumponator Inc. v. Watersports, LLC, No. 11 C 3956, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. April 5, 2012) (Aspen, Sen. J.).

Judge Aspen denied the Ketz defendant’s (“Ketz”) Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(2) motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction in this Lanham Act case involving water-balloon filling devices.  The Court did not address whether

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.

Continue Reading No Personal Jurisdiction Based Upon a Passive Website and a Single Advertisement

Merrill Primack v. Polto, Inc., No. 08 C 4539, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Jul. 8, 2010) (Dow, J.).
Judge Dow granted defendants’ Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(2) motion to dismiss this Lanham Act case over plaintiff’s “Credit Lifeline” mark for lack of personal jurisdiction. Plaintiff did not claim general jurisdiction, relying only upon specific jurisdiction. Defendants’ only Illinois contacts were the sale of 212 books unrelated to the Credit Lifeline mark into Illinois. And defendants’ offer for sale of its Credit Lifeline book via an interactive website could not alone create specific jurisdiction. Similarly, injury to intellectual property alone did not create jurisdiction based upon the effects test. Harm to the plaintiff in the jurisdiction did not satisfy the test by itself. Defendant’s actions must have been intentional, aimed at the forum state and defendant had to know that plaintiff’s harm was likely to be suffered. But there was no indication that defendant was even aware of plaintiffs’ Credit Lifeline mark, or of plaintiff, from defendant’s first use of the mark in 2001 until, at the earliest, when plaintiff registered its mark in 2008.
Finally, the Court held that there was no persuasive reason that exercising personal jurisdiction would have comported with “fair play and substantial justice.”

Continue Reading Unrelated Sales Do Not Create Specific Jurisdiction

Alta Mere Indus., Inc. v. DBC Window Tinting, Inc., No. 10 C 266, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. May 6, 2010) (Darrah, J.).
Judge Darrah granted defendant Impact’s Fed. R. Civ. 12(b)(2) motion to dismiss plaintiff Alta Mere’s Lanham Act claims regarding its marks related to automotive window tinting and alarm systems. Impact operated a local Texas business and had no other identified Illinois contacts. Alta Mere argued that the Court had specific jurisdiction over Impact because of Impact’s interactions with other defendants who were Alta Mere franchisees, as well as two letters allegedly sent to Impact warning that a franchise agreement governing defendant Cader’s use of the Alta Mere marks were governed by Illinois law.
The Court considered jurisdiction over each defendant separately and, therefore, did not consider the other defendants’ Illinois contacts in analyzing jurisdiction over Impact. Impact alleged that it never received Alta Mere’s letters. But even if Impact had received them, correspondence sent to a defendant outside the forum could not alone create jurisdiction. The letters were “random, fortuitous, or attenuated contacts.”

Continue Reading Letter Sent Outside Illinois Cannot Create Jurisdiction

Chicago Bd. Options Exchange Inc. v. Realtime Data, LLC d/b/a IXO, No. 09 C 4486, Slip. Op. (N.D. Ill. Jan. 8, 2009) (Lindberg, Sen. J.).
Judge Lindberg granted declaratory judgment for defendant Realtime’s Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(2) motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. The parties agreed that the Court lacked general jurisdiction and focused their arguments on specific jurisdiction. Because plaintiff Chicago Board Options Exchange (“CBOE”) brought declaratory judgment claims, the analysis focused upon whether Realtime’s patent enforcement activities were directed at the jurisdiction. CBOE argued that specific jurisdiction was created by Realtime’s Texas patent infringement suit against, among others, Chicago-based defendants, including eventually CBOE. But the Court held that Realtime’s Texas action alone did not create specific jurisdiction, and the Court did not consider the Texas suit against CBOE because CBOE was not added to the Texas action until after the instant suit was filed.

Continue Reading Jurisdiction Over Declaratory Patent Claims Based Upon Location of Enforcement

Guiness World Records Ltd. v. John Doe, d/b/a World Records Academy, No. 09 C 2812, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Oct. 20, 2009) (Shadur, Sen. J.)
Judge Shadur granted defendant World Records Academy’s (Academy”) Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(2) motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction in this trademark dispute regarding plaintiff’s GUINESS WORLD RECORD and WORLD RECORD trademarks. Academy’s website alone did not create specific jurisdiction because it did not allow users to purchase Academy’s products, it only told them how to buy the products. Academy did have limited sales into Illinois – three sales to two customers – and sent form email solicitations to world record holders from Illinois. And the Court held that Academy’s emails and de minimis sales could not create jurisdiction, either general or specific. The Court reasoned that if de minimis sales created jurisdiction, alleged intellectual property infringers could be hailed into almost any jurisdiction nationwide.

Continue Reading De Minimis Sales Do Not Create Specific Jurisdiction