Court of Appeals Finds No General Personal Jurisdiction Over Non-U.S. Companies Even Though the Focus of their U.S. Operations Was in the Forum State

The World in U.S. Courts: Summer and Fall 2016 - Personal Jurisdiction/Forum Non Conveniens/ Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act (FSIA)

Best Odds Corp. v. Ibus Media Limited, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, July 21, 2016

Best Odds, a Las-Vegas-based company, sued Ibus Media and a related holding company, both non-U.S. companies, for infringement and misappropriation of trademarks.  Unusually, Best Odds asserted only that the defendants were subject to the Court’s general personal jurisdiction—a demanding standard generally reserved for circumstances where the defendant is incorporated and has its principal place of business in the forum.  While the defendants conceded that their U.S.-based operations were “Nevada-centric,” no further showing of the defendants’ operations was apparently made. 

The Court concluded that no showing had been made to support a finding of general personal jurisdiction.  It added that neither defendant (1) maintained any offices or bank accounts in Nevada; (2) had a registered agent in Nevada; (3) had paid, or been required to pay, taxes in Nevada; or (4) was registered or licensed to do business in Nevada.

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