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Spyderco, Inc. v. Kevin, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Colorado

July 7, 2017

SPYDERCO, INC., a Colorado corporation, Plaintiff,
v.
KEVIN, INC., a Maine corporation d/b/a Shawmut Distributors, d/b/a Kittery Trading Post, d/b/a KTP Gun Exchange, Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS FOR LACK OF PERSONAL JURISDICTION AND IMPROPER VENUE

          CHRISTINE M. ARGUELLO United States District Judge.

         This matter is before the Court upon Defendant Kevin, Inc.'s Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction and Improper Venue. (Doc. # 11.) For the reasons detailed herein, the Motion is granted.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Spyderco, Inc. is a knife manufacturer incorporated in Colorado with its principal place of business in Golden, Colorado. (Doc. # 1 at ¶¶ 1, 11 .) Plaintiff holds a number of federally registered and common law trademarks. (Doc. # 1 at 8-11 .) Defendant Kevin, Inc. is a Maine corporation with its principal place of business in Kittery, Maine. (Doc. # 11 at 2.) Plaintiff alleges that Defendant sold and continues to sell two variants of counterfeit Spyderco knives through a brick and mortar retail store located in Kittery, Maine. (Doc. # 1 at ¶ 28.) Metallurgic testing confirmed that the knives are not authentic Spyderco products (Doc. # 1-11), yet both knives bear Plaintiff's trademarks. (Doc. # 1 at ¶ 31.) Plaintiff initiated this suit on December 14, 2016, bringing claims for trademark infringement and counterfeiting under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 11 1 7 & 1125, a claim for unfair and deceptive trade practices in violation of the Colorado Consumer Protection Act, Colo. Rev. Stat. § 6-1-101, and a number of common law causes of action. (Doc. # 1 at 17-21.)

         On January 5, 2017, Defendant filed a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction and improper venue. (Doc. # 11.) On January 26, 2017, Plaintiff filed its response (Doc. # 17), to which Defendant replied on February 10, 2017 (Doc. # 26). Defendant has not designed any products for Colorado, advertised within Colorado, or marketed the allegedly infringing products through a sales agent in Colorado. (Doc. # 11-1 at ¶¶ 10, 12, 14.) However, Plaintiff alleges that (i) Defendant's intentional trademark infringement and intentional and willful counterfeiting of Plaintiff's products and (ii) Defendant's long-standing relationship with Plaintiff constitute sufficient minimum contacts with the forum state for the purposes of personal jurisdiction.

         II. ANALYSIS

         A. STANDARD OF REVIEW: RULE 12(b)(2) MOTION TO DISMISS

         A plaintiff bears the burden of establishing a court's personal jurisdiction over a defendant. Rambo v. American S. Ins. Co., 839 F.2d 1415, 1417 (10th Cir. 1988) (citation omitted). In responding to a Rule 12(b)(2) motion filed prior to an evidentiary hearing, the plaintiff need only make a prima facie showing of personal jurisdiction to defeat the motion. OMI Holdings, Inc. v. Royal Ins. Co. of Canada, 149 F.3d 1086, 1091 (10th Cir. 1998). The prima facie showing may be made by submitting affidavits or other written materials with facts that would support jurisdiction over the defendant. Id. A defendant can counter that showing by demonstrating “that the presence of some other considerations would render jurisdiction unreasonable.” Id. (quoting Burger King v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 477 (1985)).

         Allegations made in the complaint must be taken as true so long as they remain undisputed by the defendant's affidavits. Wenz v. Memery Crystal, 55 F.3d 1503, 1505 (10th Cir. 1995). Conflicting facts in the parties' affidavits “must be resolved in the plaintiff's favor, and the plaintiff's prima facie showing is sufficient notwithstanding the contrary presentation by the moving party.” Wenz, 55 F.3d at 1505 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). Additionally, Plaintiff has “the duty to support jurisdictional allegations in a complaint by competent proof of the supporting facts if the jurisdictional allegations are challenged by an appropriate pleading.” Pytlik v. Prof'l Res., Ltd., 887 F.2d 1371, 1376 (10th Cir. 1989).

         B. THE COURT'S ABILITY TO EXERCISE JURISDICTION OVER DEFENDANT

         1. Legal Standard: “Minimum Contacts” Analysis

         An analysis of personal jurisdiction begins with a two-step inquiry. First, a court must determine “whether any applicable statute authorizes the service of process on [the] Defendant. Dudnikov v. Chalk & Vermilion Fine Arts, Inc., 514 F.3d 1063, 1070 (10th Cir. 2008) (citation omitted). Second, a court must “examine whether the exercise of such statutory jurisdiction comports with constitutional due process demands.” Id.

         With respect to the first question, the federal Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 111 7 & 1125, does not provide for nationwide service of process. CrossFit, Inc. v. Jenkins, 69 F.Supp.3d 1088, 1094 (D. Colo. 2014). Consequently, Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(k)(1)(A) requires that this Court apply Colorado law. Colorado's long-arm statute, in turn, confers the maximum jurisdiction permissible consistent with the Due Process Clause. Archangel Diamond Corp. v. Lukoil, 123 P.3d 1187, 1193 (Colo. 2005). Thus, in this case, the first, statutory inquiry effectively collapses into the second, constitutional analysis.

         The Supreme Court has held that, to exercise jurisdiction in harmony with due process, defendants must have “minimum contacts” with the forum state, such that having to defend a lawsuit there would not “offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.” Int'l Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945) (internal quotation marks omitted). Jurisdiction over corporations may be either general or specific. Rambo, 839 F.2d at 1418. Jurisdiction over a defendant in a suit arising out of or related to the defendant's contacts with the forum state is “specific jurisdiction.” Id. In contrast, when the suit does not arise from or relate to the defendant's contacts with the forum and jurisdiction is based on the defendant's presence or accumulated contacts with the forum, the court exercises “general jurisdiction.” Id. In this case, Plaintiff has not sufficiently pled that Defendant has the continuous or systematic contacts with Colorado that would permit an exercise of general jurisdiction. See Burger King, 471 U.S. at 473 n. 15; Helicopt ...


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