Designer Skin LLC v. S & L Vitamins, Inc., et al.
Conseco, Inc., et al. v. Russ Hickerson
698 N.E.2d 816 (Indiana Court of Appeals, August 14, 1998)
Defendant, a Texas resident, operated a website on which he "sought information concerning fraud or other evidence of unfair treatment by Philadelphia Life," one of plaintiff's subsidiaries, to aid in pursuing a lawsuit against Philadelphia Life. Defendant's website contained a mail-to link that permitted users to send e-mail to defendant. The site did not advertise or offer to sell any products, nor did it solicit donations.
Asserting that defendant's use on his site of its trademark "Conesco" constituted defamation, trademark infringement, dilution and commercial disparagement, plaintiff commenced suit. Plaintiff brought suit in Indiana, where its principal headquarters were located. Plaintiff argued that the Indiana District Court had personal jurisdiction over the non-resident defendant because the effects of his allegedly tortious acts, and the injury allegedly caused thereby, were felt by plaintiff in Indiana. Defendant's sole contact with Indiana was via his website.
The court rejected this argument, and held that it lacked personal jurisdiction over the defendant. Said the court:
The defendant's contacts with Indiana were insufficient to permit the court to exercise jurisdiction over him.
The full text of the court's decision can be found on a web site maintained by the State of Indiana.