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AESP Inc. v. Signamax LLC

AESP Inc. v. Signamax LLC

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Published by propertyintangible
Dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction
Dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction

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Published by: propertyintangible on Jul 12, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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07/27/2014

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IN
THE
UNITED
STATESDISTRICT
COURT
FOR
THE
EASTERN
DISTRICT
OF
VIRGINIA
 lexandria
Division
AESP
mC.
etaL
Plaintiffs
V
SIGNAMAX
LLC
Defendant.
Case
No.
l:13 cv 1089
MEMOR NDUMOPINION
Inthistrademarkandcopyrightinfringementcase,thepartieshavedisputedthe
ownership
of
thetrademarkatissue—SIGNAMAXCONNECTIVITYSYSTEMS—for
oversevenyears,includingproceedingsinaCzechcourtandbeforetheTrademarkTrial
andAppealsBoard( TTAB )ofthePatentandTrademarkOffice( PTO ).Thisdispute
remainscentraltotheclaimsinthiscase.Butatissuenowisthethresholdquestion
of
personaljurisdiction,namely,whetherdefendant ssale
of
allegedlyinfringingproducts
fromabroadtoaUnitedStatesdistributorthat,inturn,sellstheseinfringingproducts
nationwideconstitutesasufficientbasisfortheexercise
of
personaljurisdictionover
defendant
in
this
forum.
Forthereasonsthatfollow,thefactsallegedinthecomplaintandthecurrentfactualrecordwarranttheconclusionthatthereisnopersonaljurisdictionoverdefendant,
andthus,defendant smotiontodismissmustbegrantedforlack
of
personaljurisdiction.
I.
 
PlaintiffAESP,Inc.( AESP )isaFloridacorporationinthebusiness
of
designing,developing,manufacturing,andsellingcablesforconnectingpersonal
1
Case 1:13-cv-01089-TSE-TCB Document 31 Filed 07/08/14 Page 1 of 13 PageID# 1013
 
computersandperipherals,includingprintersanddiskdrives.PlaintiffSignamax,Inc.,a
Floridacorporation,isawhollyownedsubsidiary
of
AESP.
DefendantSignamax,LLCisaDistrictofColumbialimitedliabilitycompany
formedin2005byApronspols.r.o.( Apron ),aCzechcorporation.Defendantis
engagedinthebusiness
of
sellingnetworkconnectioncomponentsandcablingproducts.
In1999,plaintiffAESPacquiredtheassets,includingtrademarks,
of
CommunicationComponentsCo.,Inc.( CCCI ).Priortotheacquisition,CCCIwasa
corporationthatdesigned,developed,manufactured,andsoldstructuredcabling
products,includinginterconnectcablesandvariousdevicesusedforcomputer
networking.PlaintiffsallegethatCCCIdevelopedtheSIGNAMAXCONNECTIVITY
SYSTEMSmarkandlogoinearly1994toidentify
CCCPs
line
of
structuredcabling
products.In2000,followingplaintiffAESP sacquisition
of
CCCI sassets,plaintiffsallegethatplaintiffAESPbegantomarketandsellCCCPsSIGNAMAX
CONNECTIVITYSYSTEMSline
of
structuredcablingproducts.
In2001,plaintiffAESPpurchasedIntelekspols.r.o.( Intelek ),aCzechcorporationthatmanufacturedInternetequipmentandwirelesscommunicationhardware.PlaintiffAESPmadeIntelekitswhollyownedsubsidiaryforthepurpose
of
establishing
amarketpresenceintheCzechandSlovakRepublics.In2002,Intelekfileda
registrationforthetermSIGNAMAXCONNECTIVITYSYSTEMSwiththePTO,and
on
December
16,
2003 the
PTO
issued
theSIGNAMAXCONNECTIVITYSYSTEMS
trademarktoIntelek.
U S
Trademark
Registration
No
2793882
The
Czechtrademark
No
246216
was
issuedtoIntelekonJuly
24 2002
Case 1:13-cv-01089-TSE-TCB Document 31 Filed 07/08/14 Page 2 of 13 PageID# 1014
 
InSeptember2004 plaintiffAESPandIntelekenteredintoanagreementthrough
whichIntelek srightsintheCzechtrademarkregistrationforSIGNAMAX
CONNECTIVITYSYSTEMSweretransferredtoplaintiffAESP.ThisagreementdidnotcontainaprovisionthatexpresslytransferredtheU.S.trademarkregistrationfrom
IntelektoplaintiffAESP.Plaintiffsallegethatthisomissionwasmerelyascrivener s
errorthatneitherInteleknorplaintiffAESPnoticedatthetime andthattheagreementshouldhavecontainedsuchaprovisionbecausetheconsiderationpaidbyplaintiffAESPtoIntelekpursuanttotheagreementincludedthecost
of
registeringboththeCzech
trademarkandtheU.S.trademark.Defendantdeniesthisallegation andclaimsthatthere
wasnounderstandingbetweenthepartiesthattheSeptember2004agreementwasmeant
totransferalltrademarkregistrationstoAESP notjusttheCzechregistration.
OnApril
3 2 5
plaintiffssoldIntelek sassetstodefendant spredecessor.
Apron aCzechcorporation.PlaintiffsclaimthatallpartiestotheApril2005transaction
understoodthat despitethesale
of
Intelek sassetstoApron plaintiffAESPwas and
continued
to
be the
owner
of
the
SIGNAMAXCONNECTIVITYSYSTEMS
registration.Defendant however claimsthattheSIGNAMAXCONNECTIVITY
SYSTEMSregistrationwastransferredtoAprontogetherwithall
of
Intelek sassets andfurtherclaimsthatApron sacquisition
of
theSIGNAMAXCONNECTIVITY
SYSTEMSregistrationwastheverypurpose
of
thesale.
OnJuly29 2005 defendantwasregisteredasaWashington D.C.limited
liabilitycompany.OnAugust
24 2 5
Intelek
now
ownedbydefendant recordedan
Case 1:13-cv-01089-TSE-TCB Document 31 Filed 07/08/14 Page 3 of 13 PageID# 1015

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