Minimum Contact Requirements

Transcraft v. Doonan Trailer(132) was a trademark infringement action filed by an Illinois manufacturer against a Kansas manufacturer. Transcraft takes a Zippo approach, but clarifies that in moderately interactive cases of Zippo`s Category Two website, targeted use of Asahi and World Wide Volkswagen must be respected. Doonan operated a website that contained advertisements and the ability to provide the names and telephone numbers of local distributors of Doonan products in response to a customer`s email request. The court found that the facts supported the conclusion that the website was a passive Zippo (advertising) or intermediate (interactive, but not clearly Internet transactions) case. (133) Where a customer can exchange information with a website, the degree of interactivity and commercial nature of that website shall be examined. Using Hasbro`s trade flow analogy to measure Transcraft`s website activity, the court found that there was no evidence that Doonan used the website to encourage Illinois residents to reach out. Instead, the ads were labeled national, and there was no evidence of contacts or visits to Illinois. (134) (1) the interactivity of the website between the defendant Drudge and district residents; (2) regular distribution of the Drudge Report to district residents via AOL, email, and the web; (3) Drudge`s solicitation and receipt of contributions from County residents;(105) (4) the availability of the Website to County residents 24 hours a day; (5) Defendant Drudge`s interview with C-SPAN; and (6) the respondent Drudge`s contacts with county residents who provide gossip for the Drudge Report. Similarly, International Shoe tells us how far a long-sleeved law can go. If a State asserts its personal jurisdiction over a defendant and a court decides that there has been no minimum contact between the defendant and the State, or that it would otherwise be unfair to compel the defendant to appear before the court of the forum State, the defendant may succeed in persuading the court to dismiss the case. The Zippo approach dominated subsequent decisions. In Vitullo v.

Velocity Powerboats, (96) Velocity was a powerboat manufacturer in Florida that regularly sold its goods to a Michigan intermediary, who in turn sold a boat in Vitullo, Illinois. After one plaintiff was killed and another injured in a boating accident, Vitullo filed a product liability suit against Velocity in Illinois. Velocity maintained a website with email capabilities, a customer information form, and the ability to inform customers about boat shows that included Velocity products stored in the user area. Velocity also advertised nationally in magazines and occasionally purchased parts in Illinois. The Vitullo court took up the Zippo test and found that Velocity`s website was an intermediate category that met International Shoe`s requirements for the Forum`s exercise of long-arm competence. The court reviewed all actual contacts with the forum and concluded that these contacts together revealed that Velocity was targeting Illinois. Unlike the passive website, the intermediate website has a certain degree of interactivity. In this second category, there is a certain exchange of information between a user and the website operator.

Depending on the “degree of interactivity and commercial nature” of the exchanges that take place between the user and the site on an intermediate site, the exercise of jurisdiction may comply with international footwear criteria. (84) Any case concerning a mid-level website requires an individual factual analysis. (85) Under this intermediate category, the Tribunal examines all the circumstances by examining the internet and other contacts outside the internet and weighing them in its analysis. Notably, the Zippo court distinguishes between the seller of goods or services and a consumer or user, and finds serious problems when attempting to apply international shoe testing to a consumer rather than a seller. (86) Suppose a defendant has technically committed the tort in a State but otherwise has very little contact or connection with the State. For example, Dave makes a product in Georgia and ships it to California. The product is defective and injures the buyer.