296 F.Supp. 1106 (D.Conn. 1968), Civ. 12316, Chemical Specialties Sales Corp.--Industrial Division v. Basic, Inc.

Docket Nº:Civ. 12316
Citation:296 F.Supp. 1106
Party Name:Chemical Specialties Sales Corp.--Industrial Division v. Basic, Inc.
Case Date:September 25, 1968
Court:United States District Courts, 2nd Circuit, District of Connecticut

Page 1106

296 F.Supp. 1106 (D.Conn. 1968)

159 U.S.P.Q. 217

The CHEMICAL SPECIALTIES SALES CORPORATION-- INDUSTRIAL DIVISION, Plaintiff,

v.

BASIC INCORPORATED, Defendant.

Civ. No. 12316.

United States District Court, D. Connecticut.

Sept. 25, 1968

Page 1107

MEMORANDUM OF DECISION

Armand Cifelli, Garold E. Bramblett, Jr., Wooster, Davis & Cifelli, Albert J. Kleban, Bridgeport, Conn., for plaintiff.

William R. Murphy, Arthur H. Latimer, c/o Tyler, Cooper, Grant, Bowerman & Keefe, New Haven, Conn., William E. Thompson, Jr., John W. Renner, Oberlin, Maky, Donnelly & Renner, Cleveland, Ohio, for defendant.

ZAMPANO, District Judge.

This is a motion under Rule 12(b)(2), (3) and (5), Fed.R.Civ.P., to dismiss the complaint on the following grounds: (1) lack of jurisdiction over the defendant, Basic Incorporated; (2) improper venue; and (3) insufficiency in the service of process.

The complaint is in three counts. The first count alleges a cause of action under the antitrust laws of the United States, the second count sets forth a claim of unfair competition under the laws of the State of Connecticut, and the third count seeks a declaratory judgment of non-infringement and invalidity of United States Patent, 2,781,005.

The plaintiff, Chemical Specialties Sales Corporation-- Industrial Division ('Chemical'), is a Connecticut corporation; the defendant, Basic Incorporated ('Basic'), is a corporation organized under the laws of the State of Ohio, with its principal place of business in Cleveland. Both parties produce and sell a fuel oil additive containing magnesium oxide, which purchasers add to fuel burned in utility, marine and industrial boilers. Basic owns the patent in suit, which it contends covers its fuel oil additive. In July, 1967, the defendant wrote a letter to the plaintiff charging it and its customers with infringement of the patent and suggested that a nonexclusive licensing agreement be entered into by the parties. Negotiations failed and this suit was instituted. Subsequently, defendant filed an action for infringement of its patent against one of Chemical's customers in Florida. The United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Scott, J., has stayed the proceedings in the Florida suit.

I

Jurisdiction over the antitrust action (Count I) has been challenged on the grounds of improper venue and defective service. Venue concerns the locality of the suit and thereby limits the forums available to the plaintiff; service of process must furnish reasonable notice to the defendant of the proceedings to afford him the opportunity to appear and be heard.

The question of venue is controlled by Section 12 of the Clayton Act, 15 U.S.C. § 22, which provides in pertinent part:

Any suit, action, or proceeding under the antitrust laws against a corporation may be brought not only in the judicial district whereof it is an inhabitant, but also in any district wherein it may be found or transacts business * * *.

In Eastman Kodak Company of New York v. Southern Photo Materials Company, 273 U.S. 359, 47 S.Ct. 400, 71 L.Ed. 684 (1927),

Page 1108

the Supreme Court stated:

* * * a corporation is engaged in transacting business in a district, within the meaning of this section, in such sense as to establish the venue of a suit-- although not present by agents carrying on business of such character and in such manner that it is 'found' therein and is amenable to local process,-- if in fact, in the ordinary and usual sense, it 'transacts business' therein of any substantial character. 273 U.S. at 373, 47 S.Ct. at 403.

This common sense test of transacting business was 'designed to facilitate plaintiff's choice of forum, and is applied under the particular facts presented by each case upon a liberal inquiry as to whether a corporation is involved in commercial dealings, in the ordinary and usual sense, of any substantial character in the proposed forum district.' Turbine Engine Corporation v. Chromalloy American Corporation, 265 F.Supp. 766, 767 (D.Conn.1967).

Basic is not licensed to do business in Connecticut and maintains no office, real estate, bank account, telephone listing, representative or agent in Connecticut. On the other hand, the uncontroverted facts disclose the defendant engaged in the following activities, among others, within this state:

1) Basic since 1965 has sold and solicited the sale of its products in Connecticut, including its 'LiquiMag' fuel oil additive.

2) It solicits orders for magnesium oxide and for 'LiquiMag' fuel oil additive by advertisements in trade journals in this state.

3) It sends sales personnel into Connecticut 'from time to time' to solicit sales of its products, not on a prescheduled basis, 'but as necessary to achieve its sales objectives.' In 1967, at least three such visits were made.

4) Officers of Basic have made personal visits to sales prospects in this state to solicit orders for its products, including 'LiquiMag.'

5) Consultants and technical personnel employed by Basic have come into Connecticut to assist Basic's customers on the use of 'Liqui-Mag.'

6) The plaintiff has purchased magnesium oxide from the defendant with delivery in Connecticut.

7) Single shipments of 'LiquiMag' have been sold and delivered in Connecticut to two utility companies and a chemical company. (It is stipulated that 'LiquiMag' was being consumed in this state during 1968).

8) Basic has a utility...

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