Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Facebook Activities Unrelated to Infringement Claims Insufficient to Exercise Personal Jurisdiction

The court granted defendants' motion to dismiss plaintiff's infringement action for lack of personal jurisdiction. Although defendants' Facebook activities were purposefully directed at the forum, those activities were not directly related to plaintiff's claims. "The Federal Circuit has not expressly addressed what Facebook activities might constitute purposeful direction in the personal jurisdiction context. However, it seems apparent that friending a Nebraska resident and inviting a Nebraska resident to like a business page are both activities that are purposefully directed at Nebraska. . . . [B]y posting advertisements for [the company defendant's] products on his personal Facebook profile after friending Nebraska residents, [the owner defendant] has purposefully directed activities toward Nebraska. . . . [T]he actions of friending Nebraska residents and inviting a Nebraska resident to like the [the company defendant's Facebook] business page clearly do not give rise to the patent infringement claims. These activities do not, by themselves, constitute making, using, offering to sell, or selling patented inventions. . . . [The owner defendant's] posts on his personal Facebook profile do not constitute offer to sell under the meaning of § 271. Next, although the plaintiff asserts that [the owner defendant] provided instructions on his Facebook profile for how to operate and install the [accused] product, none of the evidence the plaintiff cites appears to support that particular assertion. Accordingly, the plaintiff's claims for indirect infringement do not arise from or directly relate to the activities the defendants purposefully directed toward Nebraska."

HVLPO2, LLC v. Oxygen Frog, LLC et al, 8-15-cv-00176 (NED May 20, 2016, Order) (Gerrard, J.)

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