Sunday, November 24, 2013

Zippo Mfg. Co. v. Zippo Dot Com case brief

Zippo Mfg. Co. v. Zippo Dot Com case brief summary
952 F.Supp. 1119 (W.D. Pa. 1997)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Defendant moved to dismiss plaintiff's trademark infringement and dilution complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction and improper venue pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P 12(b)(2) and (3) or, in the alternative, to transfer the case pursuant to 28 U.S.C.S. § 1406(a).

CASE FACTS
Plaintiff filed a complaint against defendant alleging trademark dilution, infringement and false designation under the Federal Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C.S. §§ 1051-1127 and state trademark dilution under 54 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 1124. Defendant filed a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction and improper venue, which the court denied.


  • The court held defendant's conduct of electronic commerce with Pennsylvania residents constituted purposeful availment of doing business in Pennsylvania. 
  • Defendant had contracted with numerous individuals and Internet access providers in Pennsylvania and the intended object of the transactions had been the downloading of electronic messages that formed the basis of suit in Pennsylvania. 
  • The court noted a significant amount of alleged infringement, dilution, and resulting injury occurred in Pennsylvania, thus the cause of action arose out of defendant's forum-related activities. 
  • The court also held venue was proper since 28 U.S.C.S. § 1391(b) provided that a corporate defendant was deemed to reside in any judicial district in which it was subject to personal jurisdiction.

CONCLUSION
The court denied defendant's motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction holding that the court had personal jurisdiction over defendant since defendant's conducting electronic commerce with state's residents constituted a purposeful availment of doing business in the state; the court also ruled venue was proper and denied the request to transfer the case.

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