United States District Court, D. Delaware
Polar Electro Oy ("Polar") filed this patent
infringement lawsuit against Defendants Suunto Oy
("Suunto"), Amer Sports Winter & Outdoor
("ASWO"), and Firstbeat Technologies Oy
"Defendants"). (D.I. 1). Polar alleges that the
Defendants infringe U.S. Patent Nos. 5, 611, 346 and 6, 537,
the court is Suunto's motion to dismiss for lack of
personal jurisdiction, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(2). (D.I. 58). 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.) On May 12, 2015,
the court issued a Memorandum Opinion and Order granting
Suunto's motion to dismiss for lack of personal
jurisdiction. (D.I. 75, 76). The court determined that
jurisdiction over Suunto was proper under the Delaware long
arm statute. Id. The court, however, did not find
that Suunto had the necessary minimum contacts with Delaware,
required by the due process clause, to exercise personal
jurisdiction. Id. Thereafter, the court granted
Polar's Motion for Entry of Final Judgment Pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b) and entered judgment in
favor of Suunto Oy. (D.I. 81). On August 17, 2015, Polar
filed its Notice of Appeal to the Federal Circuit. (D.I 83).
On appeal, the Federal Circuit vacated the court's
determination that personal jurisdiction over Suunto was
lacking. The Federal Circuit determined that Suunto's
purposeful shipping to Delaware supported a finding of
minimum contacts with the state, and they remanded the case
for a determination of whether exercising jurisdiction over
Suunto would be reasonable and fair. See Polar Electro Oy
v. Suunto Oy, 829 F.3d 1343, 1351 (Fed. Cir. 2016). For
the reasons that follow, the court finds that exercising
jurisdiction would be unfair and unreasonable.
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. Id. ¶ 13-15.
does not sell its accused products directly in the United
States. (D.I. 58 at 4). ASWO, a Delaware corporation,
contracts with Suunto to distribute Suunto products in the
United States. Id. ASWO is responsible for working
with brick-and-mortar retailers in the United States
(including Delaware), but it does not solicit sales in
Delaware. Id. ASWO contracts with Metro Mountain
Sports, a third party, independent sales agency, to solicit
sales from retailers of Suunto products in Delaware. (D.I. 61
at 9). There are two retailers in Delaware-with a total of
three retail locations-that sell the allegedly infringing
products. (D.I. 58 at 4). Customers can use the "Dealer
Locator" feature of the Suunto
website-suunto.com/us-to locate the physical
addresses of these retailers in Delaware. Id. ASWO
maintains that feature. Id.
ASWO fulfills online orders of Suunto products made through
the Suunto website, via its own e-commerce platform.
Id. 4-5. ASWO pays a hosting fee for the
Suunto.com/us portion of the website. Id.
Therefore, although U.S. customers search for products on the
Suunto website, they actually transact with ASWO to make a
purchase. Id. at 4. To date, eight e-commerce
transactions have been made in Delaware. Id.
sold on ASWO's e-commerce platform are shipped to the
ASWO warehouse in Tennessee. Id. at 3. Until
recently, shipments for ASWO's retail customers have also
been delivered to the Tennessee warehouse. Id. Now,
ASWO directs the retail shipments to a U.S. port and then on
to the retail customer. Id. ASWO takes title and
assumes the risk of loss for all Suunto products at Suunto
Oy's shipping dock in Vantaa, Finland. Id. So,
while Suunto is responsible for packaging, ASWO bears the
cost of shipping and determines where to ship the products.
Id. Before ASWO takes title, Amer Sport European
Center actually takes title to the products Suunto
manufactures, and moves them to finished goods before
transferring title to ASWO. Id. When the e-commerce
products arrive at ASWO's Tennessee warehouse, ASWO then
directs shipment from the warehouse to the purchasers.
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. Id. at 9. ASWO, however, is responsible
for the creation and execution of its own sales and marketing
plans for the Suunto products in the U.S. Id. at 5.
ASWO is an independent company that contracts with Suunto to
distribute Suunto's products in the United States.
Id. at 6. ASWO is not an agent of Suunto-Suunto does
not control or direct the day-to-day operations at ASWO, and
it does not finance ASWO. Id.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
patent cases, the Federal Circuit reviews the district
court's personal jurisdiction determination without
deference. The Federal Circuit applies their own law to those
jurisdictional issues that are "intimately involved with
the substance of the patent laws." Akro Corp. v.
Luker, 45 F.3d 1541, 1543 (Fed. Cir.
plaintiff bears the burden of establishing that the
defendants are properly subject to the
court'sjurisdiction. See J. MclntyreMach., Ltd. v.
Nicastro, 131 S.Ct. 2780, 2792 (2011) (Breyer, J.,
concurring); ICT Pharms., Inc. v. Boehringer Ingelheim
Pharms., Inc.? 147 F.Supp.2d 268, 270-71 (D. Del. 2001).
When jurisdictional discovery is conducted, there is no
jurisdictional hearing, and the jurisdictional facts are in
dispute, the plaintiff must make only a prima facie showing
of jurisdiction. Celgard, LLC v. SK Innovation Co.,
792 F.3d 1373, 1-378 (Fed. Cir. 2015). "Under the prima
facie standard, the court must resolve all factual disputes
in the plaintiffs favor." Polar Electro, 829
F.3d at 1347-48 (Fed. Cir. 2016).
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.
Delaware long-arm statute provides in relevant part:
[A] court may exercise personal jurisdiction over any
nonresident, or a personal representative, who in person or
through an agent:
1. Transacts any business or performs any character of work