Dental Arts Lab. V. Studio 360, The Dental Lab, LLC, No. 10 CV 4535, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Nov. 23, 2010) (Dow, J.).
Judge Dow denied defendant’s Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b) motion to dismiss this Lanham Act dispute regarding plaintiff’s 360 Dental Laboratories mark. Defendant was a Nevada entity which had sold product to sixteen Illinois dentists, making up 1.2% of defendant’s gross revenue, and maintained a website that used the mark and offered defendant’s products for sale. Plaintiff only argued that the Court had specific, not general jurisdiction. While defendant’s contacts were minimal – sixteen customers and 1.2% of revenues – they involved the alleged tortious acts at issue. The sales, therefore, were sufficient minimum contacts to create specific jurisdiction. Although the Illinois sales were allegedly de minimus, each sale was allegedly a tortious act and the Court could have had jurisdiction based upon even one of the sales. Because defendant’s venue arguments mirrored its jurisdiction arguments, venue was also proper.

Continue Reading Sales to Sixteen Illinois Dentists Creates Jurisdiction

The Northern District debuted a new website design based upon survey input. The new layout is much more streamlined and user friendly than the prior design. There are buttons on the front page that take you directly to the most used features on the site: the daily calendar and ECF/Pacer. Additionally, there are pull down menus along the top of the page that allow you to go directly to each judge’s page, as well as to the Local Rules. All of these features reduce the number of pages you have to navigate through to get to the information you want. Even the judge’s pages have been revised with a much more user friendly layout, including more linked information as opposed to the long text descriptions in the previous design. And the Northern District is planning to provide a version of the site for mobile browsers. That way if you get stuck on the way to court, you will be able to find the chambers’ phone number from your Blackberry or iPhone. My only complaint about the site has been resolved. Early in the week the site required that you have the latest version of your browser before you could access it (not ideal for an institution that strives to provide broad public access), but that was apparently a mistake and has been fixed.

Continue Reading Northern District Has an Excellent New Website

Here are a few IP news items from the weekend and this morning that you will find interesting:
Blawg Review #149 is up at the Antitrust Review with several IP-related links.
Patent lawyer Duncan Bucknell is hosting the March Carnival of Trust, which I will host on the first Monday of May.
The Northern District’s new website is live (and excellent, but more on that Friday), but may be causing you some trouble today. It is requiring that you upgrade your browser to the most current version (if you have not already) in order to access the site. I am told by reliable sources that the upgrade is not actually necessary and that the Northern District is working on a fix so that you should be able to access the site by the end of the day with any browser.

Continue Reading IP News Roundup

The Northern District has added an Attorney Information Page to its website. It is a great resource for practice related forms and questions that everyone has when filling them out (like, who to make bar admission or pro hac vice application checks out to). My only suggestion would be that they add a link to the Local Rules. Anyone applying for admission to the bar, pro hac or regular, should read the Local Rules.

Continue Reading Northern District Adds Attorney Information Page

Flentye v. Kathrein, __ F. Supp.2d __, 2007 WL 1175576 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 18, 2007) (Filip, J.).

Judge Filip denied defendants’ motions to dismiss, except as to plaintiffs’ claim for punitive damages for intentional infliction of emotional distress, because Illinois law does not allow punitives for IIED.  Plaintiffs (collectively "Flentye") promoted apartment rental services , including some properties owned by Flentye, using their family name, Flentye.  Defendants competed with Flentye promoting similar apartments, some of which were owned by defendant Kathrein LLC.  Flentye brought suit against defendants alleging violations of the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act ("ACPA"), Lanham Act unfair competition and related state law claims.  Flentye alleges that defendants lost a dispute before the UDRP and were forced to return certain domain names to Flentye, including timflentye.com, flentye.com and flentyeproperties.com.  Flentye alleged that defendants then registered new domain name timflentye-not.com and used it to direct traffic to defendants’ competing websites.  Flentye also alleged that defendants improperly used the term "Flentye" in its meta tags (key words embedded into a site’s source code to director search engines to the site) to direct users seeking information regarding Flentye to defendants sites. 

Defendants first argued that Flentye failed to plead its veil-piercing claims and that, therefore, corporate defendant Kathrein LLC should be dismissed because there were not sufficient allegations against it without a veil-piercing theory.  But the Court held that notice pleading was sufficient for a veil-piercing argument and that Flentye met the notice standard.  It was sufficient that Flentye pled that individual defendant Kathrein  created defendant Kathrein LLC "for the sole purpose of holding title to local real estate through which [Kathrein] operates Lee Street Management" and that in the caption Kathrein LLC was identified as "d/b/a Lee Street Management."  The Court noted that while these allegations might not be sufficient to prove that the veil was pierced, they were sufficient for Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a) notice pleading.  The Court also noted that a claim of corporate veil-piercing did not require Fed. R. Civ. P. 9(b) heightened pleading.


Continue Reading Notice Pleading of Veil-Piercing Preserves Complaint