In an opinion Wednesday, Judge Vyskocil dismissed, on personal jurisdiction grounds, a trademark case against various websites selling counterfeit American Girl products from China. Judge Vyskocil found that American Girl could not meet its burden to show conduct directed at New York. The court was “unconvinced that a Defendant simply owning a website that is ‘accessible’ from New York is enough to find that it transacts business here,” where it appeared that the websites deliberately avoided doing business in the state:
Continue Reading Judge Vyskocil: Online Seller of Knock-Off American Girl Products Cannot Be Sued in New York Because Of Apparent Policy Against U.S. Sales

In an opinion Friday, Judge Stanton dismissed, on jurisdictional grounds, a case accusing the promoters of an initial coin offering of fraud, because the plaintiffs’ transactions did not occur domestically, as required by Morrison v. National Australia Bank, Ltd., 561 U.S. 247 (2010).

The plaintiffs offered declarations from two putative class members who did not live in the U.S. One was from from the United Arab Emirates and the other from the United Kingdom. According to the plaintiffs, there was nonetheless a basis for personal jurisdiction because the servers that hosted the website through which the coin sales were made were physically located in Kansas, and because, in all likelihood, the relevant blockchain “nodes” that would record the transactions publicly were likely located in the United States, as well.

Judge Stanton rejected this reasoning, and found the relevant question to be where the “change in the legal relationship” between the parties occurred:
Continue Reading Judge Stanton: Offering Virtual Currencies Via a Website Hosted on U.S. Servers Is Not Enough for Jurisdiction

In an opinion yesterday, Judge Abrams found that the court lacked long-arm jurisdiction over British rocker Jeff Beck in a case over the rightful ownership of one of his guitars. The guitar purchaser, plaintiff Perry Margouleff, sought a judicial declaration to refute Beck’s claims that the guitar was stolen from him at a 1969 concert in New York.  As Judge Abrams explained, being the victim of a theft in New York does not amount to the necessary “purposeful availment” that would subject Beck to the court’s jurisdiction:
Continue Reading Judge Abrams: Jeff Beck Cannot Be Sued in New York Just Because 1969 Guitar Theft Leading to Ownership Dispute Occurred Here