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Nationwide Internet-Marketing Campaign Confers Personal Jurisdiction in Delaware

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Continuing a long tradition of interpreting Delaware’s long-arm statute broadly, Judge Joseph J. Farnan Jr. recently rejected an attempt by an Illinois company, Emulgen, to escape jurisdiction in Delaware. In the underlying infringement suit, Emulgen contended, among others, that its miniscule revenues from Delaware sales and its lack of knowledge that Delaware customers would receive its marketing emails could not confer personal jurisdiction. The Court rejected these assertions out of hand:

Emulgen contracted with a third-party to conduct a national e-mail marketing campaign, intending to reach the entire United States . . . . There is no evidence in the record that Emulgen attempted to limit its [marketing e-mails and shipments] to certain states only.

As a result, “Emulgen’s use of the internet as a marketing tool and its decision to contract with a third-party to market its product through a nationwide e-mail broadcast are sufficient to establish specific jurisdiction” under the long-arm statute. The Court also rejected Emulgen’s sales argument, finding that although potentially de minimis, the fact that some sales occurred in Delaware sufficiently triggered long-arm jurisdiction.

This case not only reaffirms the far reach of Delaware’s long-arm statute, but it puts the bar on notice that a company’s nationwide internet activity will likely impart jurisdiction in Delaware.

Tristrata Tech. v. Emulgen Labs. Inc., C.A. No. 06-652-JJF (D. Del. Feb. 25, 2008) (Farnan, J.).

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