United States District Court, D. Delaware
GREGORY M. SLEET, District Judge.
The plaintiff Polar Electro Oy ("Polar") filed this patent infringement lawsuit against defendants Suunto Oy ("Suunto"), Amer Sports Winter & Outdoor ("ASWO"), and Firstbeat Technologies Oy ("Firstbeat") (collectively, "the Defendants"). (D.I. 1.) Polar alleges that the Defendants infringe U.S. Patent Nos. 5, 611, 346 and 6, 537, 227 ("patents-in-suit").
Before the court is Suunto's motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2). Suunto originally filed its motion on January 26, 2012. (D.I. 22.) The court issued an Order on September 15, 2014, holding Suunto's motion in abeyance while the parties engaged in jurisdictional discovery. (D.I. 37.) On March 13, 2015, Suunto filed a supplemental brief, renewing its original motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. (D.I. 58.) For the reasons that follow, the court will grant Suunto's motion to dismiss. (D.I. 22.)
Polar is a company operating and existing under the laws of Finland, with its principal place of business in Kempele, Finland. (D.I. 1, ¶ 1.) Suunto is also a Finnish company, with its principal place of business in Vaanta, Finland. ( Id. ¶ 2.) Polar alleges that Suunto's accused products infringe the patents-in-suit, which relate generally to heart-rate monitoring for athletic performance applications.
Suunto does not sell its accused products directly in the United States. ASWO, a Delaware corporation, contracts with Suunto to distribute Suunto products in the United States. ASWO is responsible for working with brick-and-mortar retailers in the United States (including Delaware). There are three retail stores selling Suunto products in Delaware. Customers can use the "Dealer Locator" feature of the Suunto website - suunto.com/us - to locate the physical addresses of these retailers in Delaware. ASWO maintains this feature.
Moreover, ASWO fulfills online orders of Suunto products made through the Suunto website, via its own e-commerce platform. Therefore, although U.S. customers search for products on the Suunto website, they actually transact with ASWO to make a purchase. To date, eight e-commerce transactions have been made in Delaware.
Suunto has other contacts with the United States at large, but not specifically with Delaware. In particular, Suunto has worked with a U.S. market research group to study the U.S. market generally. Suunto has also engaged other U.S. entities - e.g., retailers, equipment makers, trail race organizers - to help build Suunto brand recognition nationwide.
III. STANDARD OF REVIEW
The court must dismiss a case when it lacks personal jurisdiction over the defendant. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(2); Freres v. SPI Pharma, Inc., 629 F.Supp.2d 374, 382 (D. Del. 2009). The plaintiff bears the burden of establishing that the defendants are properly subject to the court's jurisdiction. See J. McIntyre Mach., Ltd. v. Nicastro, 131 S.Ct. 2780, 2792 (2011) (Breyer, J., concurring); JCT Pharms., Inc. v. Boehringer Ingelheim Pharms., Inc., 147 F.Supp.2d 268, 270-71 (D. Del. 2001).
Personal jurisdiction is derived from two separate sources: state statutory law and U.S. constitutional due process. Inamed Corp. v. Kuzmak, 249 F.3d 1356, 1359-60 (Fed. Cir. 2001). The Delaware long-arm statute provides in relevant part:
[A] court may exercise personal jurisdiction over any nonresident, or a personal representative, who in ...