Zippo Manufacturing Co v. Zippo Dot Com, Inc. case brief summary
Zippo Manufacturing Co v. Zippo Dot Com, Inc.
Facts: The plaintiff, Zippo Manufacturing Corporation (PA corp. makes lighter)
filed a complaint in the Western District of Pennsylvania against Zippo
Dot Com (CA corp. operated an Internet website and Internet news
service – with 3 levels of membership: public/free, original, and super,
each of which successively offered access to a greater number of
Internet newsgroups) under the Federal Trademark Act, alleging trademark
dilution, infringement, and false designation. Does conducting
electronic commerce with Pennsylvania residents over the Internet
constitute purposeful availment for jurisdiction?
Holding: Yes, conducting electronic commerce with Pennsylvania residents over the Internet
constitutes purposeful availment for jurisdiction.
1. This introduced the three-category sliding scale or spectrum of purposeful availment over the
a. The first category includes situations where a defendant clearly does business over the Internet by
entering into contracts with residents of a foreign jurisdiction that involve the knowing and repeated
transmission of computer files over the Internet
b. At the opposite end are the websites that simply post information on the Internet which people
from other jurisdictions can see
c. The middle ground are those websites characterized as interactive.
i. The court held that in the case of interactive websites, the exercise of jurisdiction is determined by
examining the level of interactivity and commercial
nature of the exchange of information that occurs on the Web.
ii. Here, the court determined Dot Com's Internet activities were within the first category of the
sliding scale, i.e., doing business over the Internet.
I have often tried to make the cases available as links in case you are a student without a textbook.
All the information on this site is constantly updated and edited. Furthermore, if you have any outlines you want to share, so that others, free of charge, may benefit, please send those to be posted here. Likewise, if you have case briefs you would like to share, please send them to [email protected].
Please keep in mind that this site makes no warranties as to the accuracy of the cases listed here or the current status of law. These cases are derived from class notes and laws change over time. If you have any questions about these materials, or any other legal questions, you should consult an attorney who is a member of the bar of the state you reside in.