Internet Jurisdiction by Eric Goldman


Presentation on Internet Jurisdiction

April 8, 1998


Gifford v. Bruce Strumpf, Inc., 1997 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11876 (D. Maine August 7, 1997).

Graphic Controls Corp. v. Utah Medical Products, Inc., 1997 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7448 (W.D. N.Y. May 21, 1997).

Green v. William Mason & Co., 1998 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3315 (D. N.J. March 5, 1998).

Haelan Products Inc. v. Beso Biological, 1997 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10565 (E.D. La. July 11, 1997).

advertisement in national trade magazines + national toll-free number + advertising-oriented website = general jurisdiction

IDS Life Insurance v. SunAmerica, 958 F. Supp. 1258 (N.D. Ill. 1997).

McDonough v. Fallon McElligott, 1996 U.S. Dist. Lexis 15139 (S.D. Cal. August 5, 1996).

Mieczkowski v. Masco Corp., 1998 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3502 (E.D. Tex. March 18, 1998).

business contacts + non-passive website = general jurisdiction

Business contacts = (i) defendant had generated revenues of over $5.7 million in Texas over the prior six years, (ii) in the past 4 years, revenues from Texas represented 3.2% of defendant’s gross sales, (iii) in the prior year, the defendant had generated revenues of $717,000 in Texas from over 250 business transactions, (iv) the defendant had done direct mailings to prior Texas customers twice a year, and (v) a Texas vendor provided defendant with 0.2% of defendant’s products.

Non-passive website = (1) provided significant product and price information, (2) allowed users to print an order form, (3) allowed customers to check on the status of their order, and (4) allowed customers to email a sales representative.  BUT the website did not permit the consummation of online ordering.

SF Hotel Company LP v. Energy Investments Inc., 985 F. Supp. 1032 (D. Kan. Nov. 19, 1997)

Smith v. Hobby Lobby Stores, 968 F. Supp. 1356 (W.D. Ark. 1997).

Weber v. Jolly Hotels, 977 F. Supp. 327 (D. N.J. 1997).


2.1              Defamation.

California Software Inc. v. Reliability Research, Inc., 631 F. Supp. 1356 (C.D. Cal. 1986).

Edias Software International LLC v. Basis International Ltd., 947 F. Supp. 413 (D. Ariz. Nov. 19, 1996).

Krantz v. Air Line Pilot Association, 245 Va. 202 (1993).

Mallinckrodt Medical, Inc. v. Sonus Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 1998 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136 (D. D.C. January 5, 1998).

Naxon Resources (USA) Ltd. v. Southam, Inc, 1996 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21759 (C.D. Cal. 1996).

Telco Communications Group, Inc. v. An Apple a Day, Inc., 977 F. Supp. 404 (E.D. Va. 1997).

2.2              Gambling.

Minnesota v. Granite Gate Resorts, Inc. (Minn. Dist. Ct. December 11, 1996).

Minnesota v. Granite Gate Resorts, 568 N.W.2d 715 (Minn. Ct. App. 1997).

2.3              Miscellaneous.

Agar Corp. v. Multi-Fluid, Inc., 1997 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17121 (S.D. Tex. June 25, 1997).

Cody v. Ward, 954 F. Supp. 43 (D. Conn. 1997).

Expert Pages v. Buckalew, 1997 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12205 (N.D. Cal. August 8, 1997).

Hall v. LaRonde, 66 Cal. Rptr. 2d 399 (Cal. Ct. App. August 7, 1997).

Hornell Brewing Co. v. Rosebud Sioux Tribal Court, 133 F. 3d 1087 (8th Cir. 1998)

Richard Howard, Inc. v. Hogg, 1996 Ohio App. LEXIS 5533 (Ohio Ct. App. November 19, 1996).

Plus System v. New England Network, 804 F. Supp. 111 (D. Colo. 1992)

Pres-Kap, Inc. v. System One, Direct Access, Inc., 636 So.2d 1351 (Fla. App. 1994).

Resuscitation Technologies, Inc. v. Continental Health Care Corp., 1997 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3523 (S.D. Ind. March 24, 1997).

2.4              Trademark.

American Network, Inc. v. Access America/Connect Atlanta, Inc., 975 F. Supp. 494 (S.D.N.Y. 1997).

Bensusan Restaurant Corp. v. King, 937 F. Supp. 295 (S.D.N.Y. 1996).

Bensusan Restaurant Corp. v. King, 126 F.3d 25 (2d Cir. 1997).

CompuServe, Inc. v. Patterson, 89 F.3d 1257 (6th Cir. 1996).

CyberSell, Inc. v. CyberSell, Inc., 130 F. 3d 414 (9th Cir. 1997).

Digital Equipment Corp. v. Altavista Technology, Inc., 960 F. Supp. 456 (D. Mass. 1997).

Hasbro, Inc. v. Clue Computing Inc. 1997 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18857 (D. Mass. Sept. 31 [sic], 1997).

Hearst Corp. v. Goldberger, 1997 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2065 (S.D.N.Y. February 26, 1997).

Heroes, Inc. v. Heroes Foundation, 958 F. Supp. 1 (D.D.C. 1996).

Inset Systems, Inc. v. Instructional Set, Inc., 937 F. Supp. 16 (D. Conn. 1996).

Maritz, Inc. v. CyberGold, Inc., 947 F. Supp. 1328 (E.D. Mo. 1996).

Panavision International, L.P. v. Toeppen, 938 F. Supp. 616 (C.D. Cal. 1996).

Playboy Enterprises, Inc. v. Chuckleberry Publishing, Inc., 939 F. Supp. 1032 (S.D.N.Y. 1996).

Quality Solutions, Inc. v. Zupanc, 1997 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21840 (N.D. Ohio December 23, 1997).

SF Hotel Company LP v. Energy Investments Inc., 985 F. Supp. 1032 (D. Kan. 1997).

SuperGuide Corporation v. Kegan, 1997 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19317 (W.D. N.C. July 29, 1997).

Transcraft Corp. v. Doonan Trailer Corp., 1997 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18687 (N.D. Ill. November 17, 1997).

Zippo Manufacturing Co v. Zippo Dot Com, Inc., 952 F. Supp. 1119 (W.D. Pa. 1997).

Zippo court created a three tier sliding scale analysis where jurisdiction is directly proportionate to the nature and quantity of commercial activity performed by the website:

  • If website enters into contracts that require the knowing and repeated transmission of computer files into the jurisdiction, then jurisdiction attaches.  (Inaccurate cite to CompuServe v. Patterson)
  • If the website is an interactive website where the user can exchange information with the server, jurisdiction depends on the level of interactivity and commercial nature of the exchange.
  • If the website is a “passive” website that only makes information available, then no jurisdiction.  Cite to the Bensusan Case (a/k/a the Blue Note case), in which the website was for a Missouri club that also had the same name as a New York restaurant that had a federally registered trademark.  No jurisdiction attached in New York because, in order to purchase tickets to the Missouri club, a person had to (1) access the website, (2) phone for tickets, (3) go to Missouri to pick up the tickets.  Plus, 99% of the revenues came from Missouri residents.