938 F.Supp. 616 (C.D.Cal. 1996), 96-3284, Panavision Intern., L.P. v. Toeppen

Docket Nº:96-3284 DDP (JRx).
Citation:938 F.Supp. 616
Party Name:PANAVISION INTERNATIONAL, L.P., a Delaware Limited Partnership, Plaintiff, v. Dennis TOEPPEN, an individual, Network Solutions, Inc., a District of Columbia Corporation, and Does 1-50, Defendants.
Case Date:September 19, 1996
Court:United States District Courts, 9th Circuit, Central District of California
 
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Page 616

938 F.Supp. 616 (C.D.Cal. 1996)

PANAVISION INTERNATIONAL, L.P., a Delaware Limited Partnership, Plaintiff,

v.

Dennis TOEPPEN, an individual, Network Solutions, Inc., a District of Columbia Corporation, and Does 1-50, Defendants.

No. 96-3284 DDP (JRx).

United States District Court, C.D. California.

Sept. 19, 1996

Page 617

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 618

William E. Thomson, Jr., Ivy Kagan Bierman, Sean A. Luner, Kaye Scholer Fierman Hays & Handler, Los Angeles, CA, for Panavision International L.P.

Bruce W. Hamby, Orange, CA, Joseph D. Murphy, Meyer, Capel, Hirschfeld, Muncy, Jahn & Aldeen, Champaign, IL, for Dennis Toeppen.

ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT TOEPPEN'S MOTION TO QUASH THE SUMMONS AND DISMISS FOR LACK OF PERSONAL JURISDICTION

PREGERSON, District Judge.

Defendant Dennis Toeppen's Motion to Quash the Summons and Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction, brought pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2), came before the Court on September 16, 1996. After reviewing and considering the materials submitted by the parties and hearing oral argument, the Court denies Toeppen's Motion to Quash.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Panavision International, L.P. ("Panavision") is a Delaware limited partnership with its principal place of business in Los Angeles, California. Panavision owns several federally registered trademarks, including "Panavision" and "Panaflex," which it uses in connection with its theatrical motion picture and television camera and photographic equipment business.

Defendant Dennis Toeppen ("Toeppen") is an individual residing in Illinois. Toeppen owns several web sites, including the two at issue in this case, "panavision.com" and "panaflex.com." (Farrand Decl. ¶ 15.)

Defendant Network Solutions, Inc. ("NSI") is a District of Columbia corporation with its principal place of business in Herndon, Virginia. NSI registers Internet domain names.

The Internet is an international computer "super-network" of over 15,000 computer networks used by about 30 million individuals, corporations, organizations, and educational institutions worldwide. See generally American Civil Liberties Union v. Reno, 929 F.Supp. 824, 830-848 (E.D.P.A.1996) (discussing the Internet). In recent years, businesses have begun to use the Internet to provide information and products to consumers and other businesses.

Every Internet user has a unique address consisting of one or more address components. This address is commonly referred to as the "domain" or "domain name." On the Internet, domain names serve as the primary identifier of the Internet user. Businesses on the Internet commonly use their business names (e.g., IBM) with the designation ".com" (e.g., IBM.com) as their domain names. The designation ".com" identifies the name holder as a commercial entity.

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NSI does not make an independent determination of an applicant's right to use a domain name. However, since at least November 23, 1995, NSI has required applicants, including Toeppen, to make certain representations and warranties, including: (1) that the applicant's statements in the application are true and the applicant has the right to use the requested domain name; (2) that the use or registration of the domain name does not interfere with or infringe the rights of any third party with respect to trademark, service mark, trade name, company name or any other intellectual property right; and (3) that the applicant is not seeking to use the domain name for any unlawful purpose, including tortious interference with contract or prospective business advantage, unfair competition, injuring the reputation of another, or for the purpose of confusing or misleading a person, whether natural or incorporated.

In December of 1995, Toeppen applied for registration of the Internet domain name "Panavision.com" and NSI registered the domain name. (Toeppen Decl. ¶ 12.) Toeppen is not, and never has been, authorized to use the Panavision Marks. (Farrand Decl. ¶ 16.)

After registering the "Panavision.com" domain name, Toeppen established a "web site" displaying aerial views of Pana, Illinois. (Toeppen Decl. ¶ 12.) At no time did Toeppen use the "Panavision.com" name in connection with the sale of any goods or services. (Toeppen Decl. ¶ 13.)

Like many businesses, Panavision has decided to do business via the Internet. When Panavision attempted to establish a web site under its own name, however, it discovered that Toeppen had registered domain names using the Panavision trademarks. (Farrand Decl. ¶ 12.)

By registering the "Panavision.com" domain name with NSI, Toeppen has prevented Panavision from registering and using its own trademark, Panavision, as an Internet domain name. (Farrand Decl. ¶ 13.)

After Panavision notified Toeppen of its intent to use the "Panavision.com" domain name, Toeppen demanded $13,000 to discontinue use of the domain name. (Farrand Decl. ¶ 14.) Toeppen subsequently registered Panavision's "Panaflex" trademark as the domain name "Panaflex.com." (Farrand Decl. ¶ 15.) Panavision asserts, based on conversation with an attorney...

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