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Digitech Image Technologies, LLC v. Mamiya Digital Imaging Co.

April 8, 2013

DIGITECH IMAGE TECHNOLOGIES, LLC, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MAMIYA DIGITAL IMAGING CO., LTD.; LEAF IMAGING LTD. D/B/A MAMIYALEAF AND MAMIYA AMERICA CORPORATION, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Otis D. Wright, II United States District Judge

ORDER DENYING LEAF IMAGING LTD.'S MOTION TO DISMISS [26]

I.INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Digitech Image Technologies, LLC brought a patent-infringement Complaint against, among others, Defendant Leaf Imaging Ltd., an Israeli company. Leaf moves to dismiss the Complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction. Leaf contends that it is not subject to personal jurisdiction in California because it conducts no direct sales in California and maintains no offices, employees, agents, or bank accounts in this state. But Leaf does have an established distribution relationship with a United States-based company and a website that specifically lists seven California retail locations at which consumers may purchase Leaf products-all indicating that Leaf contemplated that its products would reach California through the stream of commerce. The Court finds that under Federal Circuit case law, Leaf's contacts with California are sufficient to subject it to personal jurisdiction in this state. The Court accordingly DENIES Leaf's Motion to Dismiss.

II.FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Leaf is an Israeli digital-camera company that is incorporated and has its principal place of business in Kfar Saba, Israel. (Kalinski Decl. ¶ 2.) Leaf does not own property, pay taxes, maintain a bank account, employ anyone, or sell directly to consumers in the United States. (Id. ¶¶ 3--7.)

Leaf sells its products in the United States through Defendant Mamiya America Corporation, a distributor located in New York. (Id. ¶ 7--8.) Mamiya America Corporation is an independent entity from Leaf; Leaf does not exercise any control over Mamiya. (Id.)

Leaf maintains a website that is available worldwide. (Edmonds Decl. ¶ 3, Ex. 1; see Kalinski Decl. ¶ 9.) Leaf lists seven California retail locations on its website where consumers can purchase its products. (Edmonds Decl. Ex. 1.) But Leaf does not make sales or accept payments directly through its website. (Kalinski Decl. ¶ 9.) Neither does Leaf specifically direct advertisements or marketing to California residents or design products especially for California. (Id. ¶¶ 10--11.)

On October 1, 2012, Digitech filed a patent-infringement Complaint against Defendants. Digitech alleges on information and belief that all Defendants, including Leaf, are subject to "specific and/or general personal jurisdiction" in California, particularly due to sales of the allegedly infringing products in California. (Compl. ¶ 4.)

On March 7, 2013, Leaf moved to dismiss the Complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction. (ECF No. 26.) Digitech timely opposed on March 18, 2013. (ECF No. 29-1.) That Motion is now before the Court for decision.

III.LEGAL STANDARD

Despite being properly served with process, a defendant may challenge a district court's exercise of personal jurisdiction under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2). Federal Circuit case law applies to the personal-jurisdiction analysis in cases "intimately involved" with patent law. Elecs. for Imaging, Inc. v. Coyle, 340 F.3d 1344, 1348 (Fed. Cir. 2003). Prediscovery, a plaintiff must only establish a prima facie showing of personal jurisdiction over the defendant, and all factual disputes must be resolved in the plaintiff's favor. Deprenyl Animal Health, Inc. v. Univ. of Toronto Innovations Found., 297 F.3d 1343, 1347 (Fed. Cir. 2002).

The Due Process Clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments prohibit the exercise of personal jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant unless that defendant has certain meaningful contacts with the forum state. Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 471 (1985). District courts generally assess whether the defendant would be subject to personal jurisdiction in a court of general jurisdiction in the forum state. Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(k)(1)(A).

IV.DISCUSSION

Leaf moves to dismiss Digitech's patent-infringement Complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction. Leaf argues that since it has no offices, property, sales agents, employees, or other direct contacts with California, this Court lacks either specific or general jurisdiction over it. Digitech responds only to the specific-jurisdiction issue. Digitech contends that Leaf's distribution relationship with Mamiya demonstrates that Leaf was aware that its allegedly infringing products would reach California through the stream of commerce, especially in light of ...


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