Washington Shoe v. A-Z Sporting Goods

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Procedure
  • Date Filed: 12-17-2012
  • Case #: 11-35166; 11-35206
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Bybee for the Court; Circuit Judges Hawkins and Bea
  • Full Text Opinion

Under the Calder test, personal jurisdiction is established against a non-resident defendant where the defendant knowingly engaged in copyright infringement knowing that the harm would impact a plaintiff in Washington State.

Washington Shoe, a Washington corporation, was doing business with A-Z Sporting Goods, an Arkansas corporation. A-Z operated a single sporting goods store in the state of Arkansas. During a visit to A-Z, a representative of Washington Shoe noticed two styles of rain boots in the store, the copyrights of which were owned by Washington Shoe, but the representative knew A-Z had never purchased those styles from Washington Shoe. Rather, A-Z purchased the boots from China and, upon obtaining this information, Washington Shoe sent two cease and desist letters to A-Z informing them of the copyright infringement. A-Z then removed the boots from its shelves but sold all the remaining boots to a local thrift store. Washington Shoe brought this action and the district court dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction. Upon appeal, the Circuit Court applied a three-part test to determine if A-Z has sufficient minimum contacts necessary to be subject to personal jurisdiction in Washington. The only prong at issue in this case required Washington Shoe to show A-Z purposefully directed its activities or consummated some transaction with the forum or a resident thereof. To satisfy this prong, the Court applied the test from Calder v. Jones requiring (1) an intentional act, (2) expressly aimed at the forum state, (3) causing harm A-Z knew was likely to be suffered in Washington. The Ninth Circuit found that A-Z intentionally purchased knock-off boots and, after being informed of the infringement, intentionally sold those boots. A-Z knew that Washington Shoe was incorporated in Washington. A-Z knew the harm caused by selling the boots would be suffered by Washington Shoe. Therefore, the Court held that the district court erred in dismissing the action. REVERSED and REMANDED.

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