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Designer Skin LLC v. S & L Vitamins, Inc., et al.
Unauthorized internet reseller of plaintiff’s products is not guilty of trademark infringement, and does not cause actionable initial interest confusion, by using plaintiff’s trademarks in meta tags of website at which plaintiff’s and its competitors’ products are sold, and in...

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Jami R. Vitullo v. Velocity Powerboats Inc., et al.

No. 97 C8745, 1998 U.S. Dist. Lexis 7120 (N.D. Ill. April 24, 1998)

Plaintiffs sustained personal injuries as a result of boating accident that occurred in Illinois. The boat plaintiffs were operating at the time of the accident was manufactured and/or designed by the defendants, Florida corporations based in Florida. Defendants had sold their boats to a Michigan-based third party, which in turn sold the boat at issue to Plaintiffs. This third party had promoted defendants' boats in at least two boat shows in Illinois.

Defendants also operated a website available to Illinois residents. While the site contained pictures of defendants' boats, prices and specifications "there is no evidence that the web page is used .. to transact business." The site did include a feature which allowed users to contact defendants for information concerning their products via e-mail. The site also

invited users to view defendants' boats at various boat shows, including one that was scheduled to take place in Illinois.

The Court held that these contacts were sufficient to permit the exercise of specific personal jurisdiction over the defendants in an action arising out of the purchase of one of defendants' boats from the Michigan dealer in question.

Said the Court:

Plaintiff's claim that this court has personal jurisdiction over the Powerboat Defendants will succeed or fail depending solely on two acts (or series of acts): that the Powerboat Defendants sell Velocity powerboats to a Michigan dealer who shows the Velocity powerboats at the Chicago Boat Show in Chicago, Illinois and that the Powerboat Defendants run a web page, which is accessible in Illinois. The court finds that these two contacts considered in tandem, meet the minimum requirements for this court to have specific personal jurisdiction over the Powerboat Defendants.

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