United States District Court, D. Nevada
For Bellagio, LLC, Mirage Resorts, Incorporated, Plaintiffs: Meng Zhong, LEAD ATTORNEY, Malani Dale Kotchka-Alanes, Lewis Roca Rothgerber, Las Vegas, NV; Michael J. McCue, LEAD ATTORNEY, Jonathan W Fountain, Lewis Roca Rothgerber LLP, Las Vegas, NV.
For Kislev, Inc., Tri Star Auto Spa Inc., Defendants: Ronald N Richards, LEAD ATTORNEY, Ronald Richards & Associates, Beverly Hills, CA.
James C. Mahan, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Presently before the court is defendants Tri Star Auto Spa, Inc. (" Tri Star" ) and Kislev, Inc.'s (" Kislev" ) joint motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, or, in the alternative, to transfer venue. (Doc. # 24). Plaintiffs Bellagio, LLC (" Bellagio" ) and Mirage Resorts, Inc. (" Mirage" ) filed a joint response, (doc. # 28), and defendants filed a joint reply, (doc. # 30).
Also before the court is defendants' motion for temporary relief from local counsel requirement. (Doc. # 34). Plaintiffs have not filed a response.
This case arises out of defendants' use of the phrase " Bellagio Car Wash" and a stylized capital letter " B" on defendants' signage and website. Plaintiffs allege that defendants' conduct impairs the distinctiveness of plaintiffs' famous service marks.
Plaintiff Bellagio is a Nevada company that owns the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mirage is also a Nevada company and owns Bellagio, the hotel, and all intellectual property pertinent to these proceedings.
Defendant Tri Star owns and operates www.bellagiocarwash.com. Defendant Kislev owns and operates Bellagio Car Wash. & Express Lube (" the car wash" ). Both companies are owned by Arash Nourollah, are located in California, and operate entirely within California. (Doc. # 24-1). Neither company has a business license in Nevada nor employs a registered agent in Nevada. ( Id. ).
The Bellagio Hotel and Casino resort features nearly 4,000 hotel rooms, 100,000 feet of gaming space, luxury shopping and restaurants, spa services and many other amenities. Bellagio markets itself across the world in various ways, including the use of service marks. The three protected marks relevant to this proceeding are: (1) the word " Bellagio," (2) a stylized capital " B," and (3) " The B Bellagio," which is the word Bellagio in all capital letters superimposed on the stylized capital " B." (Doc. # 22 at 3-7).
The Bellagio Car Wash. is in Lawndale, California, a suburb within Los Angeles County. The exterior signage for the carwash contains four rows of text. (Doc. # 22 at 8). The top row is the word
" Bellagio" in all capital letters. ( Id. ). The second and third rows are the words " Car Wash" and " Express Lube" in capital letters that are superimposed over a stylized capital " B." ( Id. ). The final row is a phone number, area code 310. ( Id. ).
Plaintiffs initiated suit in this court on August 20, 2014. (Doc. # 1). Plaintiffs filed their first amended complaint on March 16, 2015. (Doc. # 22). Plaintiffs allege trademark dilution under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(c), and cyber-squatting, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(d).
Defendants filed the instant motion to dismiss on March 23, 2015, alleging lack of personal jurisdiction and improper venue. (Doc. # 24).
II. Legal Standard
Personal jurisdiction over a defendant is proper when jurisdiction is provided for by law and the exercise of jurisdiction comports with due process. Walden v. Fiore, 134 S.Ct. 1115, 1121, 188 L.Ed.2d 12 (2014). " Federal courts ordinarily follow state law in determining the bounds of their jurisdiction over persons." Daimler AG v. Bauman, 134 S.Ct. 746, 753, 187 L.Ed.2d 624 (2014). Nevada has authorized its courts to exercise jurisdiction over persons " on any ...