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Cortec Corporation v. Transilwrap Co., Inc.

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

January 13, 2015

Cortec Corporation, Plaintiff,
v.
Transilwrap Company, Inc., Defendant.

ORDER

JOAN N. ERICKSEN, District Judge.

This is a trademark infringement action brought by Plaintiff Cortec Corporation against Defendant Transilwrap Company, Inc. The case is before the Court on Transilwrap's Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction. ECF No. 10. For the reasons discussed below, the motion is granted.

Background

According to its Complaint, Cortec is a Minnesota corporation based in Saint Paul that "is in the business of producing, marketing, and selling vapor phase corrosion inhibitor plastic film... for use in connection with, for example, industrial or commercial wrapping." Cortec states that it has "affix[ed] the color blue as a trademark to its film" since 1981, and that it has a registered trademark for "the COLOR BLUE as used in connection with" the film. Cortec alleges that Transilwrap, an Illinois corporation with its principal place of business in Franklin Park, Illinois, recently "commenced selling competitive blue marked film products not originating with Cortec on the open market."

On those allegations, Cortec asserts five claims against Transilwrap: for violating the Lanham Act; for common law and statutory trademark infringement; and for unfair competition and deceptive trade practices, brought under Minnesota law.

Discussion

Transilwrap has moved under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2) to dismiss Cortec's Complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction. Cortec, as the plaintiff seeking to invoke the Court's power to hear the case, "bears the burden to show that jurisdiction exists"; that "burden does not shift to the party challenging jurisdiction." Fastpath, Inc. v. Arbela Technologies Corp., 760 F.3d 816, 820 (8th Cir. 2014).

To survive Transilwrap's motion, then, Cortec
must make a prima facie showing that personal jurisdiction exists, which is accomplished by pleading sufficient facts to support a reasonable inference that the defendant can be subjected to jurisdiction within the state.... Although the evidentiary showing required at the prima facie stage is minimal, ... the showing must be tested, not by the pleadings alone, but by the affidavits and exhibits supporting or opposing the motion.... We must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and resolve all factual conflicts in its favor in deciding whether the plaintiff made the requisite showing.

K-V Pharm. Co. v. J. Uriach & CIA, S.A., 648 F.3d 588, 591-92 (8th Cir. 2011) (internal quotation marks, brackets, and citations omitted).

The prima facie showing that Cortec is obliged to make here is that "the exercise of personal jurisdiction comports with due process."[1] Fastpath, 760 F.3d at 820 (quotation omitted).

Due process requires that a non-resident have minimum contacts with the forum state such that the maintenance of the lawsuit does not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.... Minimum contacts is based on the notion that those who live or operate primarily outside a State have a due process right not to be subjected to judgment in its courts as a general matter.... A defendant's contacts with the forum state must be sufficient so that a non-resident defendant should reasonably anticipate being haled into court there.... Sufficient minimum contacts requires some act by which the defendant purposely avails itself of the privilege of conducting activities within the forum State, thus invoking the benefits and protections of its laws....

Id. at 820-21 (citations omitted).

The Eighth Circuit "ha[s] established a five-factor test to determine the sufficiency of a non-resident defendant's contacts with the forum state." Id. at 821. Those factors are: "1) the nature and quality of contacts with the forum state; 2) the quantity of the contacts; 3) the relation of the cause of action to the contacts; 4) the interest of the forum state in providing a forum for its residents; and 5) convenience of the parties." Id. The first three factors are given "significant weight, " id., while the last two are "secondary, " Johnson, 614 F.3d at 794.

"Personal jurisdiction can be specific or general." Fastpath, 760 F.3d at 820 (quotation omitted). An examination of the five factors ...


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