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Sinclair v StudioCanal

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Sinclair v Studio Canal, S.A.
2010 WL 1743208 E.D.La., 2010

This case involves a dispute over the mark TERMINATOR. StudioCanal?, S.A., is a French company who owns the famous trademark TERMINATOR and the movie franchise associated with the mark. Daniel S. Sinclair, Jr, has owned a business in Louisiana since 2008 and uses the TERMINATOR mark and a logo which also includes the TERMINATOR mark. In 2007, Sinclair was granted a registration for the TERMINATOR mark associated with cosmetic wipes, antibacterial hand-wash, medicated wipes, as well as various contraceptive prophylactics. StudioCanal?, upon discovering Sinclair's use of their mark, sent a cease and desist letter to Sinclair. Sinclair then sued StudioCanal? seeking judgment that he was able to use the TERMINATOR mark in connection with his business. StudioCanal? seeks dismissal on grounds of lack of subject matter jurisdiction as well as lack of personal jurisdiction.

For the matter of subject jurisdiction, the court discusses three aspects which are required. Those are 1)justiciability of the declaratory action, 2) the courts authority to grant declaratory relief, and 3) whether the court should exercise its discretion. Justiciability divides court matters into "cases" and "controversies". In the matter at hand, the court decides that this qualifies as a "controversy" because of the dispute between Sinclair and StudioCanal? over the usage of the mark TERMINATOR. Neither party disputes the courts authority to decide declaratory judgment. Finally, the court declined to dismiss the declaratory action.

Sinclair must show that the court does indeed have personal jurisdiction over StudioCanal?. Louisiana's Long-Arm? Statute provides jurisdiction over any nonresident which complies with Due Process. Sinclair claims that StudioCanal? has "minimum" contacts to the state of Louisiana, which would allow the court to exercise its jurisdiction. StudioCanal? responds to the jurisdiction claims by stating that they have no contacts with Louisiana, are not licensed to do business in Louisiana, do no solicit business in Louisiana, has no office in Louisiana, has no employees in Louisiana, does not maintain a bank account or any operations in Louisiana, and does not own property in Louisiana.

The court found that Sinclair could not provide evidence of StudioCanal's minimum contacts with Louisiana and therefore granted StudioCanal's motion to dismiss due to lack of personal jurisdiction.

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