By: Daily Record Staff//January 3, 2011
By: Daily Record Staff//January 3, 2011//
U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York
Personal Jurisdiction — Internet Domain Names
RVDirect.Com v. Worldwide RV
Background: Presently before the court is a motion to dismiss or transfer venue by the defendant. On June 16, 2010, plaintiffs RVDirect.com Inc. and RV Direct Group Inc. initiated this action against defendant Worldwide RV alleging violations of the Lanham Act and New York General Business Law. On Aug. 6, the defendant filed the instant motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction or, alternatively, to transfer venue. The plaintiffs are New York corporations with principal places of business in Albany County, N.Y. They are engaged in the marketing and sale of recreational vehicles, including promotion and sales made using their RVDirect.Com trademark and conducted via their RVDirect.Com website. The defendant is an Arizona business with a principal place of business in Mesa, Ariz.
The essence of the plaintiffs’ action is that the defendant, which markets the same recreational vehicles as the plaintiffs, “created an internet domain name ‘RVFactoryDirect.com’ and began marketing its products using that name.” The plaintiffs allege that the defendant has thereby diluted its trademark, purposefully created confusion in the marketplace, and capitalized off of the plaintiffs’ recognized brand, quality and reputation.
Ruling: The court finds that, contrary to the plaintiffs’ complaint, jurisdiction over the defendant cannot be based upon New York Civil Practice Law and Rules §§301, 302, and 303. It therefore does not reach the second inquiry in the above analysis, whether such exercise would comport with constitutional due process. The plaintiffs fail to satisfy the requirements of the CPLR. They do not allege that the defendant has a New York office, or bank accounts or other property within the state; nor do they allege that the defendant employs workers in New York. The plaintiffs do assert that defendant’s website is “national in scope” and invites Internet traffic from all 50 states, including New York. However, “the fact that a foreign corporation has a website accessible to New York is insufficient to confer jurisdiction under CPLR §301.” The plaintiffs’ complaint is dismissed.
Paul E. Davenport for the plaintiffs; Claudia A. Ryan for the defendant