Judge dismisses trademark case, saying defendant lacks contacts with Missouri

By Sam Knef | Oct 5, 2017

ST. LOUIS — A copyright-infringement case alleging a competitor "has caused confusion in Missouri's senior housing marketplace" has been dismissed without prejudice. 

In an order filed Sept. 22, U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry of the Eastern District of Missouri found defendant Dover Development Corp., formerly known as Family Pride Corp., lacks "sufficient minimal contacts with Missouri" to satisfy due process, according to the ruling.

Plaintiff Dover Development LLC, based in Illinois, is a multistate development company specializing in developing and constructing senior living communities, according to background information in the ruling. Co-plaintiff Dover IP LLC is Missouri-based.

In 2013, Dover Development registered its trademark, and in 2016 it assigned the trademark to Dover IP, which in turn licensed the use of the trademark to Dover Development.

The defendant is a Knoxville, Tenn-based real estate development company that renovates properties and converts them into senior housing. It had operated under the name Family Pride Corp. for more than 20 years, and in 2014 changed its name to Dover Development Corp. through the Tennessee Secretary of State.

Dover IP found out about the defendant's use of its trademark name when it tried to register it for a web platform.

The ruling states that the plaintiffs sent a cease and desist letter, but that Dover Development has continued to use the name.

Perry noted that the defendant is a Tennessee corporation with its principal place of business and registered agent in Knoxville, Tenn. 

“All of defendant’s projects have taken place in Tennessee,” she wrote. “Defendant has never registered to do business in Missouri. Defendant has not provided services or sold products in Missouri. Defendant has not solicited business from Missouri or targeted Missouri with any advertising."

“It is clear that the cited activities are not sufficient to surmount the due process threshold," Perry added. "Under the facts alleged here, defendant does not have sufficient contacts with Missouri to justify suit to proceed against it, so I will grant defendant’s motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction.”

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