Delaware May Be Diminutive, But Its Long Arm Reaches All the Way to Finland

Author: Jon T. Self, Ph.D.
Editor: Kevin D. Rodkey

In Polar Electro Oy v. Suunto Oy, No. 15-1930 (Fed. Cir. July 20, 2016), the Federal Circuit vacated a district court’s dismissal for lack of personal jurisdiction and remanded to determine whether personal jurisdiction over a Finnish company would be reasonable and fair in Delaware. Polar Electro sued Suunto, alleging that Suunto’s shipments of exercise equipment through its sister company, ASWO, into Delaware for sale infringed Polar Electro’s patents. The district court dismissed the suit, finding defendant Suunto lacked minimum contacts with Delaware sufficient to find personal jurisdiction over Suunto.

On appeal, the Federal Circuit reversed, finding that Suunto created minimum contacts for jurisdiction when it purposefully shipped products to Delaware when Suunto physically fulfilled orders and transmitted those orders to ASWO, even though ASWO paid for shipping and took title at the dock in Europe. Next the Court found that Delaware’s long arm statute could be satisfied through “dual jurisdiction” by partial satisfaction of two subsections, even though “full satisfaction of any individual subsection” was lacking. Although the Court found minimum contacts with Delaware, it noted that the district court did not determine whether jurisdiction was reasonable. Accordingly, the Federal Circuit vacated the district court’s decision and remanded for consideration whether exercise of personal jurisdiction would be reasonable and fair.


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