Sunday, March 31, 2013

Cairo, Inc. v. Crossmedia Services, Inc. case brief

Cairo, Inc. v. Crossmedia Services, Inc. case brief summary
2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8450

Plaintiff website operator filed suit against defendant website operator, seeking a declaratory judgment that its website did not infringe any copyrightable material or trademarks, that it did not breach any contract with defendant, and that it did not engage in any tortious conduct. Defendant filed a motion to dismiss for improper venue pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(3).

-Both parties operated websites that allowed users to search for products on sale at local retailers. Each of defendant's web pages displayed a notice that, by using the site, a user agreed to abide by the "Terms of Use" for the site.
-The Terms of Use contained a forum selection clause.
-After plaintiff filed suit, defendant filed a motion to dismiss for improper venue, contending that plaintiff was bound by the forum selection clause.

The court held that the forum selection clause was enforceable as to plaintiff because: (1) plaintiff's visits to defendant's websites with knowledge of the Terms of Use constituted acceptance of the terms; and (2) plaintiff's repeated and automated use of defendant's websites formed the basis for imputing knowledge to plaintiff of the terms on which defendant's services were offered.

-The court further held that the forum selection clause applied to plaintiff's federal and state copyright and trademark claims because those claims were based on the same events as the other claims set forth in plaintiff's complaint and related to the central conflict over whether defendant's terms were binding on plaintiff in the first instance.

-When a benefit is offered subject to stated conditions and the offeree makes a decision to take the benefit with knowledge of the terms of the offer, the taking constitutes acceptance of the terms, which accordingly become binding on the offeree.

OUTCOME: The court granted defendant's motion to dismiss.

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