A blog about patent, copyright and trademark law in the U.S. District Court
for the Southern District of New York

"Manufactured" Sale in District to Party's Counsel Insufficient for Personal Jurisdiction

In a September 20, 2013 ruling, Judge Robert W. Sweet granted defendant Roger Nunn's motion to dismiss plaintiff North Jersey Media Group, Inc.'s copyright infringement complaint against him for lack of personal jurisdiction.  North Jersey Media alleged that Nunn violated its copyright "of a photographic impage depicting firefighters raising an American flag at the site of the World Trade Center in the immediate aftermath of the events that took place in New York City on September 11, 2001 . . . by selling a copy of the WTC Photo over the internet." 

Judge Sweet wrote that in "order for a federal court sitting in New York to assert personal jurisdiction over Nunn, a California resident, NJ must satisfy the requirements of both New York's long-arm statute, N.Y. C.P.L.R. § 302 . . ., as well as the Due Process Clause."  The Court noted that in "general, an allegation of a defendant's infringing sales to residents in New York is sufficient to satisfy § 302," and found that the complaint did allege such a sale, thus complying with New York's long-arm statute.  Judge Sweet held, though, that Nunn's single sale in New York -- a "manufactured" sale to North Jersey Media's counsel -- failed to satisfy the Due Process Clause.  In particular, the Court ruled that North Jersey "has failed to establish that Nunn's conduct satisfies either the minimum contacts inquiry or the reasonableness inquiry; accordingly, Nunn's right to due process bars this Court's exercise of personal jurisdiction over him in the instant action."
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