Ninth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Copyright Claims for Lack of Jurisdiction
A California federal court has affirmed the dismissal of copyright infringement claims for lack of personal jurisdiction, holding that “a theory of individualized targeting” will not support specific jurisdiction. Axiom Foods, Inc., v. Acerchem Int’l, Inc., No. 15-56450 (9th Cir., entered November 1, 2017). Axiom Foods, Inc., which supplies organic and “chemical-free” products to food and beverage companies, filed a lawsuit in California after Acerchem International’s United Kingdom subsidiary distributed a newsletter to clients that included Axiom’s “As Good As Whey” and “Non-GMO” logos. The lower court dismissed the case, finding that Acerchem UK maintains its principal place of business in the United Kingdom and “does not conduct business in the United States,” adding that no more than 10 recipients of the newsletter were located in California.
Considering the jurisdictional issue, the Ninth Circuit focused on whether Acerchem UK aimed its business activities at California. In addition to the 10 identified California residents, Acerchem UK contacted 55 recipients of unknown residence that may have had legal or operational contacts with California; the court found the connection too attenuated and declined to consider the 55 contacts as possibly linked to California. Further, most of the email recipients were located in Western Europe. “The alleged infringement barely connected Acerchem UK to California residents, much less to California itself,” the court found.