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Seven Oaks Millwork, Inc. v. Royal Foam US, LLC

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

December 13, 2019



          Charles P. Kocoras, United States District Judge.

         Before the Court is Defendants Royal Foam US, LLC (“Royal Foam”), Green Wall Construction (“Green Wall”), and Valentyn Kulbaka's (“Kulbaka”) (collectively, “Defendants”) motion to dismiss under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2) and 12(b)(6). For the following reasons, the Court will grant the 12(b)(2) motion and deny as moot the 12(b)(6) motion.


         For this order, the Court accepts as true the following facts from the complaint. Murphy v. Walker, 51 F.3d 714, 717 (7th Cir. 1995). All reasonable inferences are drawn in the Plaintiff's favor. Tamayo v. Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1081 (7th Cir. 2008).

         Plaintiff Seven Oaks Millwork, Inc. (d/b/a Royal Corinthian) (“Plaintiff”) is an Illinois corporation with its principal place of business at 603 Fenton Lane, West Chicago, Illinois. Plaintiff sells columns, rails, newel posts, finishings, and balustrades. Defendant Royal Foam is a Florida limited liability company with its principal place of business in Jacksonville, Florida, and is in the business of selling balustrades. Defendant Green Wall is a Florida limited liability company. Green Wall is the exclusive distributor for Royal Foam products and services. Defendant Kulbaka is an individual domiciled in Florida who manages and controls Defendants Royal Foam and Green Wall.

         Plaintiff is the owner of the valid U.S. Copyright Reg. No. VA0001924546, titled Royal Corinthian Inc. 2003 Products Catalogue (the “Catalogue”). The Catalogue consists of the following: (1) original, digital graphic images depicting Plaintiff's products alongside corresponding product specifications and architectural drawings showing dimensions - specifically for Plaintiff's columns, rails, newel posts, finishings, and balustrades, including the balusters; (2) original, explanatory text regarding Plaintiff's products; and (3) original images of Plaintiff's products being used in the marketplace. The Catalogue is an advertisement brochure that has been publicly distributed in print and is publicly available on Plaintiff's website.

         In June 2019, Plaintiff discovered that Defendants copied some of the original, digital graphic images of its balusters from the Catalogue. Defendants allegedly selected, copied, and pasted these images into a derivative work, titled “Balustrade Residential” (“infringing work”), which is an advertisement showing various designs of Defendants' balusters. Some images of Defendants' balusters that appear in the infringing work are exact copies of photographs of Plaintiff's balusters that appear in the Catalogue. Defendants' infringing work does not reference or acknowledge any copyright. A copy of the infringing work is also posted on the Defendants' website.

         Based on these facts, Plaintiff filed its complaint on September 18, 2019, alleging claims for direct, contributory, and vicarious Copyright Infringement under 17 U.S.C. §§ 501 et seq., including 17 U.S.C. § 106, and False Designation of Origin under 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a). On October 15, 2019, Defendants moved to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2).


         Rule 12(b)(2) allows a court to dismiss a claim for lack of personal jurisdiction over the defendant. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(2). A complaint need not include facts alleging personal jurisdiction. But once the defendant moves to dismiss the complaint under this Rule, the plaintiff must demonstrate that personal jurisdiction exists. Purdue Research Found. v. Sanofi-Synthelabo, S.A., 338 F.3d 773, 782 (7th Cir. 2003). If the court rules on the motion without a hearing, the plaintiff need only establish a “prima facie case of personal jurisdiction.” Id. (quoting Hyatt Int'l Corp. v. Coco, 302 F.3d 707, 713 (7th Cir. 2002)). The court reads the entire complaint liberally and draws every inference in the plaintiff's favor. Cent. States, Se. & Sw. Areas Pension Fund v. Phencorp Reins. Co., 440 F.3d 870, 878 (7th Cir. 2006) (quoting Textor v. Bd. of Regents of N. Ill. Univ., 711 F.2d 1387, 1393 (7th Cir. 1993)) (internal quotation marks omitted). The court may also consider affidavits from both parties when determining whether a plaintiff has met its burden. Felland v. Clifton, 682 F.3d 665, 672 (7th Cir. 2012). When the defendant challenges, by declaration, a fact alleged in the plaintiff's complaint, the plaintiff has an obligation to go beyond the pleadings and submit affirmative evidence supporting the exercise of jurisdiction. Purdue Research Found., 338 F.3d at 783. While affidavits trump the pleadings in this context, all facts disputed in the affidavits will be resolved in the plaintiff's favor. See id. at 782. Unrefuted facts in defendant's affidavits, however, will be taken as true. GCIU-Employer Ret. Fund, 565 F.3d 1018, 1023 (7th Cir. 2009).

         A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) “tests the sufficiency of the complaint, not the merits of the case.” McReynolds v. Merrill Lynch & Co., 694 F.3d 873, 878 (7th Cir. 2012). The allegations in the complaint must set forth a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). A plaintiff need not provide detailed factual allegations, but it must provide enough factual support to raise its right to relief above a speculative level. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007).

         A claim must be facially plausible, meaning that the pleadings must “allow . . . the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). The claim must be described “in sufficient detail to give the defendant ‘fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'” E.E.O.C. v. Concentra Health Servs., Inc., 496 F.3d 773, 776 (7th Cir. 2007) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). “[T]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, ” are insufficient to withstand a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.


         Defendants urge the Court to dismiss the complaint under Rule 12(b)(2) for lack of personal jurisdiction and under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a ...

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