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Ayla, LLC v. Alya Skin Pty. Ltd.

United States District Court, N.D. California

November 13, 2019

AYLA, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
ALYA SKIN PTY. LTD., Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS FOR LACK OF PERSONAL JURISDICTION RE: DKT. NO. 35

          HAYWOOD S GILLIAM, JR. United States District Judge

         Plaintiff, Ayla, LLC (“Ayla” or “Plaintiff”) filed trademark infringement claims against Defendant Alya Skin Pty. Ltd. (“Alya Skin” or “Defendant”) for its use of the ALYA and ALYA SKIN marks. See Dkt. No. 1. Before the Court is Defendant's motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, for which briefing is complete. See Dkt. No. 36 (“Mot.”), 40 (“Opp.”), and 44 (“Reply”). Because Plaintiff has not shown that Defendant has sufficient contacts within California or the United States, the Court GRANTS Defendant's motion.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Plaintiffs' Allegations

         Plaintiff alleges that Defendant, “has attempted to capitalize on Ayla's valuable reputation and customer goodwill in the AYLA® Mark by using the confusingly similar ALYA and ALYA SKIN marks in connection with the advertisement, marketing, promotion, sale, and/or offer for sale of beauty supplies and retail store services in a manner that creates consumer confusion.” Dkt. No. 1 ¶15 (“Complaint”). To establish that the Court has personal jurisdiction over Defendant, Plaintiff specifically alleges that “Defendant sells its products . . . in California, . . . ships its products to California, ” and “markets and advertises its products and services online . . . through the https://www.alyaskin.com/ URL, which is available and accessible in California.” Id. ¶ 3. Defendant also “markets and advertises its products and services through social media through its Instagram account, https://www.instagram.com/alyaskinaus/, and Facebook profile, https://www.facebook.com/alyaskinaus/, which are accessible in California.” Id. Additionally, in its opposition to Defendant's motion, Plaintiff argues that Defendant has targeted consumers in California because “Defendant appears to have an agreement with U.S. based retailer Urban Outfitters which has several stores in California to offer for sale Defendant's products bearing the infringing marks, ” and claims “Defendant has worked with social medial influencers residing in California (and other parts of the U.S.) to market and promote” its products. Opp. at 9-10 (citing Dkt. No. 43 Ex. 8, 13, 15, 17).

         Relying on the nationwide jurisdiction provision, Plaintiff additionally argues that Defendants have substantially targeted the United States as a whole because “the default pricing shown on Defendant's website is in U.S. Dollars, ” Defendant's products are marketed “as approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and certified by the U.S. based entity PETA, ” and “Defendant has applied for a U.S. federal trademark registration for the infringing ALYA SKIN mark.” Id. at 10 (citing Dkt. No. 43 Exs. 1-2).

         B. Defendant's Evidence in Support of Its Motion to Dismiss

         James Hachem, co-founder of Alya Skin, submitted a declaration in support of Defendant's motion. See Dkt. No. 37. Hachem explained that Alya Skin has no “retail stores and none of its products are available in any retail store in the United States, ” “Alya Skin has no offices or branches in the U.S., ” “[n]o Alya Skin officers, directors, or employees reside or are domiciled in the U.S., ” and “Alya Skin does not advertise in any publications that are directed primarily towards California residents, nor does it target any marketing towards California.” Id. ¶¶ 8-18. Hachem also indicated that “Alya Skin specifically targets the Australian market by advertising its local elements-its ‘Australian native berries moisturizer' and its ‘Australian Pink Clay Mask'-and by branding its products with the phrase ‘Made with love in Australia.'” Id. ¶ 19. Hachem also noted that “less than 10% of its sales have been to the United States and less than 2% of its sales have been to California.” Id. ¶ 10.

         Manny Barbas, co-founder of Alya Skin, also submitted a declaration in support of Defendant's motion. See Dkt. No. 44-1. Barbas stated that “Alya Skin does not employ or have any contracts with any Instagram influencers . . . [but] independently contracts with various intermediaries . . . located in the Philippines in order to contact Instagram influencers.” Id. at ¶¶ 8-9. He also denied that Alya Skin has any contract with Urban Outfitters and noted that “[t]he overwhelming majority of Alya Skin's sales occur in Australia, New Zealand, China, and Canada.” Id. ¶ 4, 20.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         “When a defendant moves to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, the plaintiff bears the burden of demonstrating that the court has jurisdiction over the defendant.” Pebble Beach Co. v. Caddy, 453 F.3d 1151, 1154 (9th Cir. 2006). Although the court “may not assume the truth of allegations in a pleading which are contradicted by affidavit, ” CollegeSource, Inc. v. AcademyOne, Inc., 653 F.3d 1066, 1073 (9th Cir. 2011) (internal quotation marks omitted), the court must resolve conflicts between the facts contained in the parties' affidavits in plaintiff's favor. See Schwarzenegger v. Fred Martin Motor Co., 374 F.3d 797, 800 (9th Cir. 2004). When the court does not conduct an evidentiary hearing, the plaintiff need only make a prima facie showing of facts supporting personal jurisdiction to avoid dismissal. See Myers v. Bennett Law Offices, 238 F.3d 1068, 1071 (9th Cir. 2001).

         A. California Personal Jurisdiction

         Due process limits a court's power to “render a valid personal judgment against a nonresident defendant.” See World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v. Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 291 (1980). Where a state authorizes “jurisdiction on any basis not inconsistent with the Constitution of this state or of the United States, ” as does California, see Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 410.10, federal courts must determine whether the exercise of jurisdiction over a defendant “comports with the limits imposed by federal due process.” Daimler AG v. Bauman, 571 U.S. 117, 126 (2014); see also Mavrix Photo, Inc. v. Brand Techs., Inc., 647 F.3d 1218, 1223 (9th Cir. 2011) (“California's long-arm statute . . . is coextensive with federal due process requirements, so the jurisdictional analyses under state law and federal due process are the same.”). “For a court to exercise personal jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant consistent with due process, that defendant must have certain minimum contacts with the relevant forum such that the maintenance of the suit does not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.” Id. (quoting Int'l Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945)) (internal quotation marks omitted); see also Walden v. Fiore, 571 U.S. 277, 286 (2014) (“Due process requires that a defendant be haled into court in a forum State based on his own affiliation with the State, not based on the random, fortuitous, or attenuated contacts he makes by interacting with other persons affiliated with the State.”) (internal quotations omitted).

         A plaintiff may invoke either general or specific personal jurisdiction. Ranza v. Nike, Inc., 793 F.3d 1059, 1068 (9th Cir. 2015). “[G]eneral jurisdiction requires affiliations so continuous and systematic as to render the foreign corporation essentially at home in the forum State, i.e., comparable to a domestic enterprise in that State.” Daimler, 571 U.S. at 133 n.11 (internal quotations, citations, and alterations omitted). Specific jurisdiction exists if: (1) the defendant has performed some act or consummated some transaction with the forum by which it purposefully availed itself of the privilege of conducting business in California; (2) the plaintiff's claims arise out of or result from the defendant's forum-related activities; and (3) the exercise of jurisdiction is ...


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