A Chicago financial products company sued a Japanese asset management company, claiming the defendant used its products in an unauthorized manner. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss, claiming inter alia that the court lacked personal jurisdiction over it.
The court first noted that the Supreme Court's decision under Walden v. Fiore, 134 S. Ct. 1115 (2014) would not allow jurisdiction merely based on foreseeability or the fact that plaintiff resided in the forum and suffered harm. But the court found that a foreign entity's "trade on the established name of an entity in the forum state . . . established a relationship not just with the in-state entity, but with the forum state itself." (quoting Ariel Investments LLC v. Ariel Capital Advisors LLC, No. 15 C 3717 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 29, 2015)). Accordingly, the court found defendant had sufficient minimum contacts to sustain personal jurisdiction.
This is an interesting (non-)application of Walden, which significantly reduced the reach of the court's jurisdiction. After Walden, the court must find a nexus between the case and the forum beyond the residence of the plaintiff. Here, the nexus was the nature of the case, i.e. trademark infringement.
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