C&D Letter Plus Customer Letters Establish Personal Jurisdiction

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Plaintiff Under Armour, Inc., a Maryland corporation, filed a lawsuit seeking a declaratory judgment that its use of the phrases “I Can Do All Things” and “I Can. I Will.” does not infringe on the “ICAN” trademark of Battle Fashions, Inc, located in North Carolina.  Defendants moved to dismiss the lawsuit for lack of personal jurisdiction.  United State District Judge Richard D. Bennett denied the motion.  Although Defendants’ cease-and-desist letter to Plaintiff was insufficient alone to confer personal jurisdiction over the out-of-state Defendants, Judge Bennett found that the Defendants also sent lawsuit-notification and litigation-hold letters to third parties (including NBA star Stephen Curry, his agent, and Plaintiff’s advertising agency) with ties to Plaintiff.  Interestingly, although the third parties who received the letters were not Maryland residents, Judge Bennett nonetheless found that the letters interfered with Plaintiff’s business in Maryland and, together with the cease-and-desist letter to Plaintiff, established specific jurisdiction.  Under Armour, Inc. v. Battle Fashions, Inc., No. RDB-17-3223, 2018 WL 1169181 (D. Md. Mar. 6, 2018).