Judge Noreika Adopts Magistrate Judge Recommendation to Deny Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction

September 7, 2022

Publication| Intellectual Property

In Rockwell Automation, Inc. v. EU Automation, Inc., No. 21-1162-MN (Aug. 19, 2022), a trademark case, Judge Noreika overruled objections to a magistrate judge report filed by one of the defendants (referred to in the decision as “EU Illinois”).  The magistrate judge had recommended that EU Illinois’s motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction be denied.  

Judge Noreika stated that, as a reseller of machine parts, EU Illinois operated a website on which customers could request a quote but not place an order.  Arrangements for a sale took place by phone or email.  From 2016 on, about $465K of EU Illinois’s revenue was attributable to customers located in Delaware, some of whom purchased from EU Illinois products that had been originally sold under brands or trademarks of the plaintiff.

Judge Noreika found that this activity, directed to the State of Delaware, satisfied Delaware’s long-arm statute, since it amounted to transacting business or performing work or service in Delaware and contracting to supply services or things in Delaware.

The court next found that the exercise of personal jurisdiction under Delaware’s long-arm statute was consistent with due process.  Judge Noreika stated that maintaining a website, without more, would not satisfy due process (citing the Third Circuit’s decision in Toys “R” Us, Inc. v. Step Two, S.A., 318 F.3d 446, 454 (3d Cir. 2003)), but that EU Illinois purposefully availed itself of doing business in Delaware by emailing and phoning with, selling to, and shipping products to customers in Delaware.

The decision is available here

Key Point: The court rejected the defendant’s argument that, because its revenue from sales in Delaware as a proportion of the defendant’s overall revenue was de minimis (0.01%, according to the decision), it could not satisfy Delaware’s long-arm statute or the due-process minimum-contacts inquiry.

  • sign up for our newsletter

    To keep our clients and friends updated on the latest legal news, Richards Layton distributes practice area e-alerts and newsletters. If you are interested in receiving these publications, please subscribe below.