Bensusan Restaurant v. King (937 F. Supp. 295)
Summary prepared by Devashish Bharuka
For the full version of the case, click here

Plaintiff is a NY corporation, creator of a jazz club in New York city known as "The Blue Note". He brought an action against King, individually and doing business as The Blue Note in Missouri, alleging that King is infringing on Bensusan's rights in its trademark "The Blue Note". Web site contains general information about the club in Missouri and a calendar of events and ticketing information. It has a telephone number for charge-by-phone ticket orders, which are available for pick-up on the night of the show at the Blue Note box office in Columbia.

Held, several affirmative steps have to be taken by a New York resident to access the web site and utilize the information there. The mere fact that a person can gain information on the allegedly infringing product is not the equivalent of a person advertising, promoting, selling or otherwise making an effort to target its product in New York. There is simply no allegation or proof that any infringing goods were shipped into New York ot that any other infringing activity was directed at New York or caused by King to occur here.

The statute requires that Substantial "revenue" is required from interstate commerce, not mere participation in it. King's 99% of patronage and revenue is derived from local residents of Columbia, Missouri (primarily students from the University of Missouri) and that most of the few out-of-state customers have either an existing or a prior conncetion to the area, such as graduates of te University of Missouri.

Bensusan's main argument: defendant could have foressen that the site was able to be viewed in New York and taken steps to restrict access to his site only to users in a certain geographic region, presumably Missouri. Held, mere foreseeability of an in-state consequence and a failure to avert that consequence is not sufficient to establish personal jurisdiction.

Furthermore, does not fulfill the Due Process Clause requirement:
1) King has done nothing to purposefully avail himself of the benefits of New York.
2) Setting up of a website was not an act purposefully directed towards the forum state.
3) King didn't conduct any business in New York.
4) Foreseeability argument struck down.

Held, there is no personal jurisdiction.