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International Institute of Management v. Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

United States District Court, D. Nevada

June 20, 2019

INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT, Plaintiff(s),
v.
ORGANIZATION FOR ECONOMIC COOPERATION AND DEVELOPMENT, et al, Defendant(s).

          ORDER

         Presently before the court is defendant Joseph Stiglitz' motion to dismiss. (ECF No. 19). Plaintiff International Institute of Management (“IIM”) filed a response (ECF No. 33), to which Stiglitz replied (ECF No. 35).

         Also before the court is defendant Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's (“OECD”) motion to dismiss. (ECF No. 21). IIM filed a response (ECF No. 34), to which OECD replied (ECF No. 37). IIM also filed a surreply (ECF No. 44), to which OECD responded (ECF No. 47).

         I. Facts

         This is a copyright infringement action in which IIM alleges that the OECD, a Paris-based intergovernmental organization for economic research and policy, and Stiglitz, a Nobel laureate and professor of economics at Columbia University, allegedly stole credit for IIM's work on using non-GDP factors to measure the well-being of countries. (ECF No. 1).

         IIM is a small, Nevada think tank that publishes economics papers on the internet. Id. In 2005, IIM published a two-page paper titled “Gross National Well-being (GNW) Index” (“2005 paper”). Id. The 2005 paper generally discusses the idea of using non-GDP factors to measure the well-being of countries and provides seven factors that such an index might use. (ECF No. 23-2). The 2005 paper does not show how to use these factors to measure a country's well-being. Id.

         In 2006, IIM published a second paper titled “The American Pursuit of Unhappiness” (“2006 paper”). (ECF No. 1). The 2006 paper is six pages long and generally discusses why a nation's happiness should be measured with non-GDP factors. (ECF No. 23-3). The paper also elaborates on non-GDP factors that various measurement approaches might use. Id. Like the 2005 paper, the 2006 paper does not provide any solution on how to measure the well-being of countries with non-GDP factors. Id.

         The OECD's Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress (the “commission”) conducts research on measuring the well-being of countries. (ECF No. 1). Stiglitz, who is a resident of New York, is the chairman of the commission and substantially contributed to various reports and articles that the commission published. Id.

         In 2009, the commission published a 291-page report titled “Report by the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress” (“2009 report”). (ECF Nos. 1, 23-4). Twenty-two commissioners, five of whom are Nobel laureates, wrote the 2009 report, which discusses the limits of GDP as an indicator of economic performance. (ECF No. 23-4). The report also extensively addresses problems with various measurement techniques and how to improve upon existing methods to determine the well-being of countries. Id.

         In 2011, the OECD created the Better Life Index, which uses non-GDP factors to measure the well-being of countries. (ECF No. 23-5). The OECD published the index on the internet on an interactive website that millions of people have used to compare the well-being of countries. Id. According to the complaint, Stiglitz is also selling a book on Amazon.com which contains material from IIM's copyright protected works. (ECF No. 1). IIM alleges that the 2009 report, the Better Life Index, and Stiglitz' book infringe on its copyrights in the 2005 and 2006 papers. Id.

         On September 10, 2018, IIM initiated this action, asserting four causes of action: (1) copyright infringement; (2) vicarious and/or contributory copyright infringement; (3) unfair competition; and (4) false advertising in violation of the Lanham Act. Id. Now, OECD and Stiglitz move to dismiss the complaint. (ECF Nos. 19, 21).

         II. Legal Standard

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2) allows a defendant to move to dismiss a complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(2). To avoid dismissal under Rule 12(b)(2), a plaintiff bears the burden of demonstrating that its allegations establish a prima facie case for personal jurisdiction. See Boschetto v. Hansing, 539 F.3d 1011, 1015 (9th Cir. 2008). Allegations in the complaint must be taken as true and factual disputes should be construed in the plaintiff's favor. Rio Props., Inc. v. Rio Int'l Interlink, 284 F.3d 1007, 1019 (9th Cir. 2002).

         “When no federal statute governs personal jurisdiction, the district court applies the law of the forum state.” Boschetto, 539 F.3d at 1015; see also Panavision Int'l L.P. v. Toeppen, 141 F.3d 1316, 1320 (9th Cir. 1998). Where a state has a “long-arm” statute providing its courts jurisdiction to the fullest extent permitted by the due process clause, as Nevada does, a court need only address federal due process standards. See Arbella Mut. Ins. Co. v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court, 134 P.3d 710, 712 (Nev. 2006) (citing Nev. Rev. Stat. § 14.065); see also Boschetto, 539 F.3d at 1015.

         An assertion of personal jurisdiction must comport with due process. See Wash. Shoe Co. v. A-Z Sporting Goods Inc., 704 F.3d 668, 672 (9th Cir. 2012). Two categories of personal jurisdiction exist: (1) general jurisdiction; and (2) specific jurisdiction. See Helicopteros Nacionales de Colombia, S.A. v. Hall, 466 U.S. 408, 413-15 (1984); see also LSI Indus., Inc. v. Hubbell Lighting, Inc., 232 F.3d 1369, 1375 (Fed. Cir. 2000).

         General jurisdiction arises where a defendant has continuous and systematic ties with the forum, even if those ties are unrelated to the litigation. See Tuazon v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., 433 F.3d 1163, 1171 (9th Cir. 2006) (citing Helicopteros Nacionales de Columbia, S.A., 466 U.S. at 414-16). “[T]he plaintiff must demonstrate the defendant has sufficient contacts to constitute the kind of continuous and systematic general business contacts that approximate physical presence.” In re W. States Wholesale Nat. Gas Litig., 605 F.Supp.2d 1118, 1131 (D. Nev. 2009) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). In other words, defendant's affiliations with ...


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