APPLE INC. v. ZIPIT WIRELESS, INC.
- Apr 18 2022 |
- Category: CAFC Updates
Apple appeals from a judgment of the district court dismissing its complaint for declaratory judgment of noninfringement with respect to U.S. Patent Nos. 7,292,870 and 7,894,837 (which are generally directed to wireless instant messaging devices that use Wi-Fi to send and receive instant messages) against Zipit for lack of personal jurisdiction. After observing that determining whether jurisdiction exists over an out-of-state defendant involves two inquiries (whether California’s long-arm statute permits service of process and whether assertion of personal jurisdiction comports with due process), the CAFC agrees with the district court that minimum contacts satisfied the first inquiry, but disagrees that other considerations would render jurisdiction over Zipit unreasonable under the second inquiry. The CAFC found it was error for the district court to conclude that it would be unreasonable to exercise jurisdiction over Zipit solely because Zipit’s contacts with California all related to the attempted resolution of the status of the patents-in-suit, noting there is no general rule that demand letters can never create specific personal jurisdiction. Specifically, the CAFC finds that the district court erred in reading CAFC precedent as creating a bright-line rule that communications directed to the attempted resolution of the parties’ dispute regarding the patents-in-suit trumps all other considerations of fairness and reasonableness. The CAFC finds that Zipit went beyond attempting to resolve its dispute with Apple outside of court; it amplified its allegations of infringement after Apple stated it did not need a patent license, and Zipit, in the end, sued Apple for patent infringement. Because Zipit has not met its burden to present a compelling case that the Burger King factors in the aggregate would render the exercise of jurisdiction unreasonable, the CAFC reverses and remands.