Sports Authority Michigan, Inc. v. Justballs, Inc.
97 F. Supp. 2d 806; 2000 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9902

Summary prepared by Devashish Bharuka
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Plaintiff , a Michigan corporation, brought this action against, a Delaware corporation, for infringement and dilution of its federally registered marks. Defendant is a national retailer of sporting goods and equipment and operates primarily via a web site on the Internet. Defendant challenged the action on grounds of personal jurisdiction.

Under Michigan's long-arm statute, the state's jurisdiction extends to the limits imposed by federal constitutional Due Process requirements. Firstly, the Court must determine whether defendant purposefully availed itself of the privilege of condcting business or causing consequences in Michigan. In the present action, plaintiff relies upon three "categries" of conduct that it believes satisfies the purposeful availment inquiry: (1) assorted advertising efforts on-line, in print publications and at trade shows; (2) sales to Michigan entities; (3) defendant's operation of its retail internet web site.

Court was not satisfied that the mere placement of advertisements in nationally distributed on-line and print publications "rises to the level of purposeful contact with a forum required by the Constitution in order to exercise personal jurisdiction over the advertiser". Sports authority also argued that Justballs "actively sells and promotes its products at trade shows across the country" but failed to indicate whether any of these trade shows were held in Michigan.

Plaintiff further argued that Justballs sold its products to Michigan residents and these transactions form the basis for concluding that Justballs availed itself of the benefits and protections of Michigan law. Court accepted that Justballs sold its products to Michigan citizens and targeted their business by offering goods that may appeal directly to Michigan citizens like sports memorabilia with the logos of Michigan athletic teams. These contacts constituted personal availment.

Held, there is personal jurisdiction.