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Kraemer v. Whizcut America Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Ohio

May 16, 2017

ROLF H. KRAEMER, Plaintiff,
v.
WHIZCUT AMERICA INC., et al., Defendants.

          OPINION & ORDER [RESOLVING DOC. 42]

          JAMES S. GWIN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         On September 23, 2016, Plaintiff Rolf H. Kraemer filed a patent infringement claim against Defendants WhizCut America Incorporated (“WhizCut America”) and WhizCut of Sweden AB (“WhizCut Sweden”).[1]

         On April 17, 2017, Defendant WhizCut Sweden filed a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction.[2]

         For the reasons below, the Court GRANTS WhizCut Sweden's motion to dismiss.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Kraemer brings a patent infringement claim for U.S. Patent No. 6, 652, 200 (“'200 Patent”) against Defendant WhizCut America and WhizCut Sweden. The ‘200 Patent protects a tool holder device with an internal coolant system.

         Defendant WhizCut Sweden is a corporation organized under Swedish laws[3] with its principal place of business in Helsinborg, Sweden.[4]

         Plaintiff alleges that WhizCut Sweden weekly exports tool holders from Sweden to Wisconsin-where its “American affiliate” WhizCut America is located-for sale.[5] Plaintiff also alleges that Defendants have jointly offered the tool holders for sale at a trade show in Columbus, Ohio and sold the products in Cleveland, Ohio.[6]

         Plaintiff also asserts that Defendant WhizCut Sweden's internet presence is so extensive that jurisdiction is proper here in Ohio.[7]

         Defendant WhizCut Sweden argues that it does not export or directly sell any allegedly infringing products in the United States.[8] Rather, WhizCut Sweden completes its transfer of its products to WhizCut America in Sweden. Thus, when WhizCut America transports products to America, WhizCut Sweden is no longer responsible for them.[9]

         Defendant WhizCut Sweden further argues that its affiliate, WhizCut America, transacts business in Columbus or Cleveland, Ohio, but Defendant WhizCut Sweden does not.[10]

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         A challenge to this Court's personal jurisdiction triggers a two-part inquiry.

         First, a plaintiff “must demonstrate that . . . Ohio's long-arm statute [is] satisfied.”[11] In relevant part, Ohio's long-arm statute provides

[a] court may exercise personal jurisdiction over a person who acts directly or by an agent, as to a cause of action arising from the person's
(1) Transacting any business in this state;
(2) Contracting to supply services or goods in this state;
(3) Causing tortious injury by an act or omission in this state;
(4) Causing tortious injury in this state by an act or omission outside this state if he regularly does or solicits business, or engages in any other persistent course of conduct, or derives substantial revenue from goods used or consumed or services rendered in this state; . . .
(6) Causing tortious injury in this state to any person by an act outside this state committed with the purpose of injuring persons, when he might reasonably have expected that some person would be injured thereby in this state;
(9) Contracting to insure any person, property, or risk located within this state at the time of contracting. . . .[12]

         Second, if the plaintiff makes a prima facie showing of personal jurisdiction under the forum state long-arm statute, the Court considers whether the exercise of jurisdiction comports with constitutional due process.[13]

         To exercise personal jurisdiction based on a defendant's actions in this state, the Court must find

(1) purposeful availment of the privilege of acting in the forum state or causing a consequence in the forum state, (2) a cause of action . . . aris[ing] from activities in the state, and (3) a substantial enough connection with the forum state to make the exercise of jurisdiction over the defendant reasonable.[14]
The plaintiff bears the burden of establishing jurisdiction.[15] The court “must consider the pleadings and affidavits in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.”[16]

         III. Analysis

         The parties argue over multiple theories of personal jurisdiction.[17] The Court addresses each in turn.

         Product Delivery Theory

         Defendant WhizCut Sweden argues that it conducts no business in the United States, let alone Ohio. Defendant states that it delivers the allegedly infringing products to WhizCut America “FCA” or “free carrier, ” which means the products are “considered to be fully delivered to WhizCut America in Helsinborg, Sweden.”[18]

         Thereafter, WhizCut Sweden is not responsible for the products. Instead, WhizCut America imports the products through United ...


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