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A Corp. v. All American Plumbing, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

January 27, 2016

A CORP. D/B/A ROOTER MAN, Plaintiff, Appellant,
v.
ALL AMERICAN PLUMBING, INC., Defendant, Appellee

Page 55

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 56

APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS. Hon. Rya W. Zobel, U.S. District Judge.

Juan (Jenny) Liu for appellant.

Albert A. DeNapoli, with whom Matthew S. Furman, and Tarlow, Breed, Hart & Rodgers, P.C., were on brief, for appellee.

Before Lynch,[*] Thompson, and Kayatta, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 57

THOMPSON, Circuit Judge.

Plaintiff-appellant A Corp. appeals from the district court's dismissal of its trademark infringement action against defendant-appellee All American Plumbing, Inc. (" All American" ) for lack of personal jurisdiction. A Corp. argues that the district court had specific personal jurisdiction over All American because All American maintains an interactive website that is accessible in Massachusetts and caused injury to the trademark owner in Massachusetts. We disagree and affirm.

I. BACKGROUND

On August 28, 2014, A Corp. filed this trademark infringement action against All American, alleging federal trademark infringement, false designation of origin, dilution, interference with contractual relation, unfair competition, and unjust enrichment. A Corp. is a Massachusetts plumbing corporation and franchisor[1] that owns the federal registrations of the " Rooter Man" mark, " A Rooter Man to the Rescue" mark, and the " Rooter Man" words (collectively, the " Rooter Man marks" ), which are registered for " cleaning and repairing septic systems and clearing clogged pipes and drains." [2] In its complaint, A Corp. alleged that All American -- a family-run plumbing company located in Arizona -- was improperly using A Corp.'s Rooter Man mark, or one confusingly similar, to advertise its plumbing business on its website, www.allamericanplumbingandrooter.com, which A Corp. described as being " interactive" and continuously " accessible in Massachusetts." A Corp. claimed that All American's unauthorized use of the Rooter Man marks interfered with A Corp.'s franchise agreement with its Arizona franchisee, confusing its customers and prospective franchisees as to the possible relationship between the two companies.

All American, an Arizona corporation with its principal place of business in Mesa, Arizona, subsequently moved to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction and improper venue,[3] highlighting that it conducts business exclusively in Arizona, with no employees, property, offices, or bank accounts in Massachusetts. All American further noted that it is only licensed to provide plumbing services in Arizona and that its website, although widely accessible, solicits plumbing business solely in Arizona. And even then, All American explained, its website solicitations are limited to providing the email addresses and local phone and fax numbers for All American's three Arizona locations -- East Valley, West Valley and Phoenix. All American's website does not mention Massachusetts, and All American has never offered or provided any plumbing services in Massachusetts.

After consideration of the parties' submissions, including affidavits submitted by both parties, the district court granted All American's motion to dismiss, concluding that A Corp. had not met its burden to establish either general or specific jurisdiction. The ...


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