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Telebrands Corp. v. Altair Instruments, Inc.

United States District Court for the District of New Jersey

August 13, 2019, Decided; August 13, 2019, Filed

Civil Action No. 18-16234 (SDW) (LDW)

Opinion

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

LEDA DUNN WETTRE, United States Magistrate Judge

Before the Court are defendant's motion to dismiss the complaint or, alternatively, to transfer venue to the Central District of California (ECF No. 19) and plaintiff's motion for leave to file an amended complaint (ECF No. 43). The Honorable Susan D. Wigenton, U.S.D.J., referred the motion to dismiss to the undersigned for a Report and Recommendation; as the motion to amend also raises issues related to personal jurisdiction, the Court will address the motions in tandem. The Court heard oral argument on the motion to dismiss and the motion to amend on May 13, 2019. The parties then asked the Court to stay decision on the motions while they pursued [*2]  mediation. (ECF No. 55). As their mediation efforts were unsuccessful, the motions are now ripe for disposition. Having considered the parties' arguments and the written submissions at ECF Nos. 19, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 34, 35, 43, 45, and 49, and for good cause shown, the Court recommends that the motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction be GRANTED. The motion to transfer venue and motion to amend are therefore DENIED AS MOOT.1

I. BACKGROUND

In a complaint dated November 16, 2018, plaintiff Telebrands Corp. seeks a declaratory judgment that its DermaSuction product does not infringe defendant Altair Instruments, Inc.'s U.S. Patent No. 6,241,739 (the "'739 Patent") entitled "Microdermabrasion Device and Method of Treating the Skin Surface." (Compl. ¶¶ 1, 10, 11, ECF No. 1). Plaintiff is a New Jersey corporation with its principal place of business in Fairfield, New Jersey. (Id. ¶ 2). Defendant is a California corporation with its principal place of business in Ventura, California. (Id. ¶ 3; Walker Decl. ¶ 2, ECF No. 19-3). Defendant has no offices, real property, or employees in New Jersey, is not licensed to do business in New Jersey, and does not have an agent for service of process in New Jersey. (Walker Decl. [*3]  ¶¶ 4-5). Defendant has not initiated any lawsuits in New Jersey and has not granted any license authorizing any other entity to enforce the '739 Patent. (Id. ¶¶ 7-8).

On October 10, 2018, counsel for Altair sent Telebrands a cease and desist letter alleging that the DermaSuction product infringed several claims of the '739 Patent. (Compl. ¶ 14, Ex. 2). The parties then corresponded about the possibility of re-designing the DermaSuction product to avoid potential patent infringement liability. (Oines Decl., Exs. 5-10, ECF No. 19-2). Instead, approximately one month after receiving the cease and desist letter, Telebrands filed the instant declaratory judgment action. On December 17, 2018, Altair filed an essentially identical patent infringement suit against Telebrands in the Central District of California, the court in which it has litigated a number of other actions related to the '739 Patent. (Id. ¶¶ 3, 15, Ex. 11).

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2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136594 *; 2019 WL 3804837

TELEBRANDS CORP., Plaintiff, v. ALTAIR INSTRUMENTS, INC., Defendant.

CORE TERMS

general jurisdiction, personal jurisdiction, Patent, website, patent infringement, products, motion to dismiss, discovery, forum state, quotation, contacts, internet, lack of personal jurisdiction, declaratory judgment, Recommendation, advertising, parties, infringing, sales, principal place of business, proposed amended complaint, allegations, residents, due process, website, investigator, declaratory, systematic, litigate, motions