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Polar Electro Oy v. Suunto Oy

United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

July 20, 2016, Decided

2015-1930

Opinion

 [*1345]  [***1423]   Lourie, Circuit Judge.

Polar Electro Oy ("Polar") appeals from the decision of the United States District Court for the District of Delaware granting Suunto Oy's ("Suunto") motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. See Polar Electro Oy v. Suunto Oy, No. 11-1100, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61645, 2015 WL 2248439 (D. Del. May 12,  [*1346]  2015). Because the district court erred in determining that Suunto lacked sufficient minimum contacts with Delaware to support specific jurisdiction, we vacate and remand.

Background

Polar, a Finnish company based in Finland, owns U.S. Patents 5,611,346 and 6,537,227, directed to a method and apparatus for measuring heart rates during physical exercise and athletic performance. Polar sued Suunto, Amer Sports Winter & Outdoor ("ASWO"), and Firstbeat Technologies Oy ("Firstbeat") in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware, alleging that the defendants infringed its patents, [**2]  directly and indirectly, through the manufacture, use, sale, offer for sale, and importation of certain Suunto products.

Suunto is a Finnish company with a principal place of business and manufacturing facilities in Finland. ASWO is a Delaware corporation with a principal place of business in Utah. Suunto and ASWO are sister companies, ultimately owned by the same parent company. ASWO distributes Suunto's products in the United States pursuant to a distribution agreement. J.A. 352-66. Under that agreement, Suunto is responsible for supplying the products from Finland and for providing "outbound logistics services." J.A. 358.

As the supplier, Suunto is obligated to ship its products to addresses specified by ASWO. Id. According to Polar, the accused Suunto products are shipped via a standard ordering process from Finland to the United States, which comprises: (1) Suunto receiving an order for a product; (2) Suunto packaging that order at its factory in Finland; (3) Suunto then placing the packaged product on its shipping  [***1424]  dock for a third-party shipper to pick up; and (4) the third-party shipper delivering the order to an address provided by ASWO, such as the address of a U.S. retailer. [**3]  Appellant's Br. 8.1 ASWO pays for shipping, and title to the goods passes from Suunto to ASWO at Suunto's shipping dock in Finland. At least ninety-four accused products have been shipped from Finland to retailers in Delaware using that standard ordering process. J.A. 293-94. At least three retail stores in Delaware sell the accused Suunto products.

Suunto also owns the website, www.suunto.com/us . Customers can use the "Dealer Locator" feature on that website to locate retailers in Delaware that sell Suunto products. ASWO maintains that feature, however. In addition, customers can order Suunto products on the Suunto website. ASWO fulfills such online orders via an e-commerce platform that ASWO owns. At least eight online sales have been made in Delaware. J.A. 293-94.

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829 F.3d 1343 *; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 13221 **; 119 U.S.P.Q.2D (BNA) 1422 ***

POLAR ELECTRO OY, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. SUUNTO OY, Defendant-Appellee, AMER SPORTS WINTER & OUTDOOR, DBA SUUNTO USA, FIRSTBEAT TECHNOLOGIES OY, Defendants

Prior History:  [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Delaware in No. 1:11-cv-01100-GMS, Judge Gregory M. Sleet.

Polar Electro Oy v. Suunto Oy, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61645 (D. Del., May 12, 2015)

Disposition: VACATED AND REMANDED.

CORE TERMS

Suunto, products, district court, personal jurisdiction, forum state, shipping, dual jurisdiction, minimum contact, purposefully, retailers, stream-of-commerce, long arm statute, website, general jurisdiction, articulated, stream of commerce, exercise jurisdiction, ordering, online, patent, sales, due process, correctly, argues, prong

Patent Law, Jurisdiction & Review, Standards of Review, Clearly Erroneous Review, Personal Jurisdiction & Venue, De Novo Review, Civil Procedure, In Rem & Personal Jurisdiction, In Personam Actions, Due Process, Constitutional Law, Fundamental Rights, Procedural Due Process, Scope of Protection, Long Arm Jurisdiction, Minimum Contacts, Purposeful Availment, Doing Business