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Best Odds Corp. v. Ibus Media Ltd.

United States District Court, D. Nevada

June 4, 2014

BEST ODDS CORP., Plaintiff,
v.
IBUS MEDIA LIMITED, a foreign company; IBUS MEDIA HOLDINGS (IOM) LIMITED, a foreign company, Defendants.

ORDER

ROBERT C. JONES, District Judge.

This trademark infringement action arises under the Lanham Trademark Act of 1946, 15 U.S.C. § 1114. Defendants have moved to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction and for failure to state a claim. (ECF No. 13). For the reasons stated herein, the Court concludes that it lacks personal jurisdiction over Defendants. Accordingly, the Court need not address Defendants' Rule 12(b)(6) arguments, and the case is dismissed.

I. BACKGROUND

This is a case between the operators of two poker websites. Plaintiff Best Odds Corp. is a Nevada corporation that provides "news and information via a global computer network in the field of gaming." (Compl. ¶ 17, ECF No. 1). Defendants iBus Media and iBus Media Holdings (collectively, "Defendants") are Isle of Man corporations that provide "news and information via a global computer network in the field of gaming." ( Id. at ¶ 20). Both Plaintiff and Defendants use the MacPoker® trademark in connection with their respective websites. ( Id. at ¶¶ 21-22). The mark, however, is registered to Plaintiff. ( Id. at ¶ 18; USPTO Registration, ECF No. 1-2).

On October 29, 2013, Plaintiff filed the instant action, claiming trademark infringement under the Lanham Act and "misappropriation of commercial properties" under Nevada common law. (Compl., ECF No. 1). On January 21, 2014, Defendants moved to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction and failure to state a claim for which relief can be granted. (ECF No. 13). The Court now considers the pending motion.

II. LEGAL STANDARDS

A defendant may move to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(2). Personal jurisdiction exists if: (1) provided for by law; and (2) the exercise of jurisdiction comports with due process. See Greenspun v. Del E. Webb Corp., 634 F.2d 1204, 1207 (9th Cir. 1980). When no federal statute governs personal jurisdiction, a federal court applies the law of the forum state. See Boschetto v. Hansing, 539 F.3d 1011, 1015 (9th Cir. 2008). Where, as in Nevada, the forum state's long-arm statute provides for personal jurisdiction to the fullest extent of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, see Arbella Mut. Ins. Co. v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court, 134 P.3d 710, 712 (Nev. 2006) (citing Nev. Rev. Stat. § 14.065), a court need only apply federal due process standards, see Boschetto, 539 F.3d at 1015.

There are two categories of personal jurisdiction: general jurisdiction and specific jurisdiction. General jurisdiction exists over a defendant who has "substantial" or "continuous and systematic" contacts with the forum state such that the assertion of personal jurisdiction over him is constitutionally fair even where the claims are unrelated to those contacts. See Tuazon v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., 433 F.3d 1163, 1171 (9th Cir. 2006) (citing Helicopteros Nacionales de Colombia, S.A. v. Hall, 466 U.S. 408, 415 (1984)). The Supreme Court recently clarified that the reach of general jurisdiction is narrower than had been supposed in the lower courts for many years. See Daimler AG v. Bauman, 134 S.Ct. 746, at 755 (2014) (citing Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations, S.A. v. Brown, 131 S.Ct. 2836, 2851 (2011)) (noting that general jurisdiction lies not simply where a defendant has continuous and systematic contacts with the forum state, but where those contacts are so pervasive as to render the defendant "essentially at home" in the forum State).

Even where there is no general jurisdiction over a defendant, specific jurisdiction exists when there are sufficient minimum contacts with the forum state such that the assertion of personal jurisdiction "does not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.'" Int'l Shoe Co. v. State of Wash., Office of Unemployment Comp. & Placement, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945) (quoting Milliken v. Meyer, 311 U.S. 457, 463 (1940)). The standard has been refined through a long line of cases. See, e.g., Hanson v. Denckla, 357 U.S. 235, 253 (1958) ("[I]t is essential in each case that there be some act by which the defendant purposefully avails itself of the privilege of conducting activities within the forum State, thus invoking the benefits and protections of its laws." (citing Int'l Shoe Co., 326 U.S. at 319)); World-wide Volkswagen Corp. v. Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 297 (1980) ("[T]he foreseeability that is critical to due process analysis is not the mere likelihood that a product will find its way into the forum State. Rather, it is that the defendant's conduct and connection with the forum State are such that he should reasonably anticipate being haled into court there." (citing Kulko v. Superior Court of Cal., 436 U.S. 84, 97-98 (1978))). From these cases and others, the Ninth Circuit has developed a threepart test for specific jurisdiction:

(1) The non-resident defendant must purposefully direct his activities or consummate some transaction with the forum or resident thereof; or perform some act by which he purposefully avails himself of the privilege of conducting activities in the forum, thereby invoking the benefits and protections of its laws;
(2) the claim must be one which arises out of or relates to the defendant's forumrelated activities; and
(3) the exercise of jurisdiction must comport with fair play and substantial justice, i.e. it must be reasonable.

Boschetto, 539 F.3d at 1016 (quoting Schwarzenegger v. Fred Martin Motor Co., 374 F.3d 797, 802 (9th Cir. 2004)).

The plaintiff bears the burden on the first two prongs. If the plaintiff establishes both prongs one and two, the defendant must come forward with a "compelling case" that the exercise of jurisdiction would not be reasonable. But if the plaintiff fails at the first ...

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