Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Greenbroz, Inc. v. Laeger Built, LLC

United States District Court, S.D. California

April 21, 2017

GREENBROZ, INC., a Nevada corporation, Plaintiff,
LAEGER BUILT, LLC d/b/a TRIMBROS.COM, an Oregon limited liability company; JEFFERY LAEGER, an individual; DOES 1-10 Defendants.


          Hon. Cathy Ann Bencivengo United States District Judge.

         Defendants Laeger Built, LLC d/b/a and Jeffery Laeger (collectively “Defendants”) move to dismiss the Complaint filed against them by Plaintiff Greenbroz, Inc. (“Plaintiff”). Both Defendants move to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction, pursuant to Fed. Civ. P. 12(b)(2); Defendant Jeffery Laeger also moves to dismiss for failure to state a claim pursuant to Fed. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). Defendants alternatively request for a more definite statement pursuant to Fed. Civ. P. 12(e). For the reasons set forth below, this Court denies the motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction or in the alternative motion for a more definite statement and grants the motion to dismiss for failing to state a claim against Defendant Jeffery Laeger.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff is a corporation formed and organized in Nevada with its principal place of business in San Diego, California. [Doc. No. at ¶ 1.] Defendant Laeger Built, LLC is a limited liability company organized and existing under Oregon law, where its principal place of business is located. [Id. at ¶¶ 2-3.] Defendant Jeffery Laeger is the registered agent and principal officer of the business. [Id. at ¶ 3.]

         Plaintiff designs and manufactures various agricultural trimmers. [Doc. No. 12.] Plaintiff is the owner of a design patent for a blade assemble apparatus for trimming agricultural products (“the Patent”). [Doc. No. 1 ¶¶ 4, 12.] Plaintiff filed the Patent in August 2014 and it was issued in May 2016. [Id. at ¶ 12.] On June 13, 2016, Plaintiff sent a cease and desist letter to Defendants, stating that Defendant's agricultural trimmer (“the Product”) was infringing on its Patent. [Id. at ¶ 16.] Defendants responded on June 29, 2016, denying it was infringing and refusing to comply with the demands contained therein. [Doc. No. 12-4 at 2-3.] On December 2, 2016, Plaintiff filed its Complaint against Defendants alleging patent infringement, California trademark infringement, and unfair competition under state common law and the Lanham Act. [See generally Doc. No. 1.]


         A. Legal Standard

         In their moving papers, the parties cite exclusively to Ninth Circuit law in analyzing personal jurisdiction. However, when the personal jurisdiction analysis in an action is “intimately related to patent law, ” Federal Circuit law applies. Avocent Huntsville Corp. v. Aten Int'l Co., 552 F.3d 1324, 1328 (Fed. Cir. 2008) (applying Federal Circuit law where the jurisdictional issue was intimately involved with the substance of the patent laws.)

         Where, as is the case here, the suit involves both patent and non-patent claims, Federal Circuit law will also apply to the issue of personal jurisdiction of non-patent claims if the resolution of the patent infringement issue will be a substantial factor in determining liability under non-patent claims. Breckenridge Pharm., Inc. v. Metabolite Labs., Inc., 444 F.3d 1356, 1361 (Fed. Cir. 2006); but see Elecs. for Imaging, Inc. v. Coyle, 340 F.3d 1344, 1348 (Fed. Cir. 2003) (applying regional circuit law to non-patent declaratory claims of non-misappropriation of trade secrets and non-breach of contract.)

         The three non-patent claims are California trademark infringement and unfair competition, based on California common law and the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125. [See generally Doc. No. 1.] The personal jurisdiction determination of these non-patent claims are governed by Federal Circuit law because each arises under the same underlying facts of the patent infringement claim and the resolution of the patent claim is significant to the ruling of these non-patent claims. See 3D Systems, Inc. v. Aarotech Lab., Inc., 160 F.3d 1373, 1377 (Fed. Cir. 1998) (holding the state law claims of trade libel and unfair competition “go hand-in-hand with [the plaintiff's] patent infringement claims.”); see also LSI Industries Inc. v. Hubbell Lighting, Inc., 232 F.3d 1369, 1371 (Fed. Cir. 2000) (applying Federal Circuit law to personal jurisdiction issue for patent and trademark claims).

         Accordingly, Federal Circuit law applies to the entirety of Defendant's motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. Under Federal Circuit law, the burden of establishing jurisdiction is on the plaintiff. Silent Drive, Inc. v. Strong Indus., Inc., 326 F.3d 1194, 1201 (Fed. Cir. 2003). The plaintiff need only make a prima facie showing of jurisdiction to survive a motion to dismiss, when, as is the case here, no jurisdictional discovery has been conducted. Id. The district court must construe all pleadings and affidavits in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and resolve any factual conflicts in the affidavits in the plaintiff's favor. Id. “[W]here the plaintiff's factual allegations ‘are not directly controverted, [they] are taken as true for purposes of determining jurisdiction . . .'” Akro, 45 F.3d at 1543 (quoting Beverly Hills Fan Co. v. Royal Sovereign Corp., 21 F.3d 1558, 1563 (Fed. Cir. 1994)).

         B. Analysis

         Whether a court has personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state defendant typically involves two inquiries: (1) whether a forum state's long-arm statute permits service of process; and (2) whether the assertion of personal jurisdiction would violate due process. Inamed Corp. v. Kuzmak, 249 F.3d 1356, 1359-60 (Fed. Cir. 2001). Here, because “California's long-arm statute is coextensive with the limits of due process, ” the sole inquiry is a “whether jurisdiction comports with due process.” Autogenomics, Inc. v. Oxford Gene Tech. Ltd., 566 F.3d 1012, 1017 (Fed. Cir. 2009) (citing Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 410.10).

         Due process requires the out of state defendant to have certain “minimum contacts with the forum state such that the maintenance of the suit does not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.” Int'l Shoe v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945). Personal jurisdiction can be general or specific, however, Plaintiff only argues for specific personal jurisdiction.[1] [See Doc. No. 12 at 11.]

         Specific jurisdiction must be based on activities that arise out of or relate to the cause of action. Id. The Federal Circuit has established a three-prong test that must be met to exercise specific personal jurisdiction: “(1) whether the defendant purposefully directed its activities at the residents of the forum; (2) whether the claim arises out of or is related to those activities; and (3) whether assertion of personal jurisdiction is reasonable and fair.” Akro Corp. v. Luker, 45 F.3d 1551, 1545-46 (Fed. Cir. 1995). “The first two factors correspond with the ‘minimum contacts' prong of the International Shoe analysis, and the third factor corresponds with the ‘fair play and substantial justice' prong of the analysis.” Inamed, 249 F.3d at 1360 (referencing Int'l Shoe, 326 U.S. at 316.) “The plaintiff ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.