First Financial Resources v. First Financial Resources, Corp.
2000 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16866

Summary prepared by Devashish Bharuka
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Plaintiff, a Delaware corporation, was the national sales division of a benefit fundint operations of EPS Solutions. It obtained a federal trademark registration on the work mark "First Financial Resources". Defendant, an Indiana corporation, was a financial planning firm which specializes in fee-based management. It maintained a web site which provided information and allowed contacting the corporation.

Plaintiff sued the Defendant alleging violations of the Lanham Act, the Illinois Deceptive Trade Practices act and the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practice Act. Defendant file a motion to dismiss the suit on grounds of lack of personal jurisdiction.

Plaintiff alleges that this Court may exercise general jurisdiction over Defendant because Defendant maintians systematic and continuous contacts with Illinois by (1) marketing and selling its products in Illinois and (2) advertising its services nationally via the Internet. The Court disagreed.

The Plaintiff did not submit any evidence that Defendant had a place of business in Illinois or its employees travelled to Illinois or that it solicited customers from Illinois. Further, Defendant did not have a license to practice in Illinois.

Further, the nature and quality of commercial activity that the defendants conducts via its web site did not rise to the level at which personal jurisdiction may be constitutionally exercised. The web site falls in the middle ground category of the Zippo approach. The site allows clients and potential clients to gather information as well as contact Defendant financial advisors via email. However, the Defendants did not accept orders or request for financial planning services and does not provide any method by which a customer could place an order or request for financial planning over the site. Also, the Defendants did not enter into contracts on the site.

Held, there is no personal jurisdiction.