Insufficient Evidence of Substantial Revenue Derived in Georgia to Support Camouflage Copyright Infringement Claim

As previously reported here, Jordan Outdoor Enterprises, Ltd. (“Jordan”), asserted copyright infringement and unfair competition against Hubei Wild Trees Textiles Co., LTD. (“Wild Trees”) relating to camouflage patterns, seeking further to cancel a federal copyright registration.  Wild Trees sought to dismiss the action for lack of personal jurisdiction.

Judge Clay Land of the Middle District of Georgia granted Wild Trees’ motion (order here), further holding that its alternative motion for partial summary judgment was moot.  The Court first traced the shifting of the burden from the plaintiff to the defendant and then back to the plaintiff, citing Diamond Crystal Brands, Inc. v. Food Movers Int’l, Inc., 593 F.3d 1249, 1257 (11th Cir. 2010).  The Court further noted that where conflicts in the evidence existed, “’the court must construe all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff.’ Meier ex rel. Meier v. Sun Int’l Hotels, Ltd., 288 F.3d 1264, 1269 (11th Cir. 2002).”

Judge Land noted that Wild Trees’ only place of business is in Hubei, China, and the company “has never sold or shipped any goods to Georgia, registered to conduct business in Georgia, or had an agent for service in Georgia.”  In addition, Wild Trees has had no employees, property or business in Georgia, nor advertised or negotiated any deals in the state.  Wild Trees does have a website accessible to anyone and has obtained 9 U.S. copyrights for camouflage patterns (which Jordan alleged infringe Jordan patterns).  The only Wild Trees sales of goods in the United States has been to Wildfowler Outfitter, Inc., in Minnesota.  The Court noted that “Wildfowler sells and ships these products throughout the United States, including Georgia.”

In reaching his conclusion that dismissal was appropriate, Judge Land noted there is a two-step inquiry.  To be subject to personal jurisdiction, Wild Trees must fall under Georgia’s long-arm statute and the exercise of jurisdiction must comport with the U.S. Constitution’s Due Process Clause.  Diamond Crystal, 593 F.3d at 1257.  The Court first concluded that there was insufficient evidence to infer that the substantial revenue required by subsection 3 of Georgia’s long-arm statute had been met.  Therefore, it was unnecessary to consider the second step.  Motion dismissed.

Jordon Outdoor Enterprises, Ltd. v. Hubei Wild Trees Textiles Co., LTD., 4:12-CV-297, Dkt. No. 44 (M.D. Ga. April 9, 2014) (Judge Clay D. Land).

 

Topics:  Copyright, Copyright Infringement, Personal Jurisdiction, Unfair Competition

Published In: Civil Procedure Updates, Constitutional Law Updates, Intellectual Property Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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