Designer Skin LLC v. S & L Vitamins, Inc., et al.
Zippo Manufacturing Co. v. Zippo Dot Com, Inc.
952 F.Supp. 1119 (E.D. Penn., Jan. 16, 1997)
Plaintiff, Zippo Manufacturing Company, a Pennsylvania corporation which manufactures lighters and holds the trademark in the mark "Zippo" brought a trademark infringement and dilution claim against the defendant. The defendant moved to dismiss the complaint for want of personal jurisdiction. The court denied the motion, holding that defendant had sufficient contacts with the forum to permit the exercise of jurisdiction over it. The defendant was a California based company with neither offices or employees in Pennsylvania. Its contact with Pennsylvania residents was limited to and telephone communications. Defendant operated a World Wide website hosted on a California server which was available to Pennsylvanian residents. The site advertised the services defendant offered to its clientele. These included permitting access to various newsgroup messages stored on a computer in California. To obtain access, the user completes online an application, and pays for the service by credit card, either online or via telephone. The user then receives a password, which permits the user to access the newsgroup messages. Defendant had entered into subscription contracts with some 3000 Pennsylvanians (which represented 2% of its clientele), as well as contracts with 7 Pennsylvanian based Access Providers to give defendant's customers access to the information in question. These contacts, found the court, were sufficient to permit the exercise of jurisdiction over the defendant.
Said the court:
This last sentence indicates that the court might have found that mere advertising on the , without more, would not be sufficient to permit the exercise of jurisdiction over the advertiser. This is indicated by the following statement of the court: