Brief Fact Summary.
Zippo Dot Com filed a motion to dismiss after being sued by Zippo Manufacturing Company for copyright infringement.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
A non-resident company may be subject to jurisdiction in a state where it’s only contacts are made through the internet.
Zippo Dot Com was a California corporation that owned the right to use the names “zippo.com,” “zippo.net,” and “zipponews.com.” Zippo Manufacturing Company sued Zippo Dot Com in Pennsylvania for trademark infringement. Zippo dot com filed a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction.
Whether a non-resident company may be subject to jurisdiction in a state where it’s only contacts are made through the internet?
Yes. Zippo Dot Com’s motion to dismiss is denied because Zippo Dot Com satisfies the minimum contacts three-prong test. Zippo Dot Com actively exchanged information with users in Pennsylvania and Zippo Dot Com actively chose to process the applications of Pennsylvania residents and issue them passwords.
The Zippo three-prong test establishes that interactive websites where defendants conduct business and elicit sales are enough to grant personal jurisdiction; passive websites that afford internet users no interactivity are not enough to grant personal jurisdiction; and interactive websites where a user can exchange information with the host computer may be sufficient to find personal jurisdiction.