Bensusan Restaurant (Bensusan), a New York corporation, sued Richard King individually and in his capacity doing business as "The Blue Note," a Columbia, Missouri corporation, in the Southern District of New York for trademark infringement, dilution, and unfair competition. The web site described "The Blue Note" as mid-Missouri’s finest live entertainment venue, identified its location in Columbia, Missouri, and provided the Missouri telephone number for King’s box office. The web site also initially contained a disclaimer that this establishment should not be confused with "The Blue Note" jazz club in New York’s Greenwich Village and a hyperlink to the New York club’s web site. When Bensusan objected to the disclaimer, King removed the hyperlink and modified its wording. Is a web site an offer to sell a product in a forum where allegedly infringing work is located?
Holding: The Second Circuit found that personal jurisdiction could not be exercised over King because the requirements of the New York "long-arm" statute were not satisfied.
ii. The court analyzed three prongs of the New York "long-arm" statute.
Any of the three prongs authorize jurisdiction in New York over nonresident defendants:
- (1) an act by a nonresident defendant who does business in New York (King did not conduct business in NY)
- (2) an act by a nonresident defendant within New York which cause injury in New York (His allegedly tortious acts were committed outside the state of New York) or
- (3) an act, outside New York, by a nonresident defendant who derives substantial revenue from interstate commerce, where the defendant expects or should reasonably expect the act to have consequences in New York. (King’s business operations were of a local character)
- Bensusan Restaurant Corp. v. King