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In re Papst Licensing GMBH & Co. KG Litigation

March 5, 2009


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Rosemary M. Collyer United States District Judge

MDL Docket No. 1880


Papst Licensing GMBH & Co. KG ("Papst") brought suit against Konica Minolta Holdings Inc. ("KMHD") and Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., Inc. ("KMBUS") alleging patent infringement due to the defendants' sale or importation of digital cameras into the United States. KMHD moves to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction because it is a Japanese holding company that does not sell or import any products. Papst opposes and requests leave to amend its complaint to add other Konica entities. As explained below, KMHD's motion to dismiss will be granted, and Papst's motion to amend will be denied.


Papst filed a complaint in federal District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, alleging that KMHD and KMBUS infringed two patents owned by Papst, U.S. Patent Nos. 6,470,399 and 6,895,449 (the "Patents"). See Papst Licensing GMBH & Co. KG v. Konica-Minolta Holdings, Inc., 08-cv-1404 (D.D.C.) (originally filed in the Northern District of Illinois as 08-cv-3606) (the "Illinois Case"). The Illinois Complaint alleges that "[u]pon information and belief the KonicaMinolta Defendants have made, used, sold or offered to sell to numerous customers in the United States or have imported into the United States digital cameras which infringe the Patents in Suit." Id., Compl. ¶ 10. The Illinois Case was transferred here for pretrial proceedings as part of multidistrict litigation ("MDL") involving Papst's claims that numerous manufacturers of digital cameras have infringed the Patents.

The Complaint erroneously alleges that KMHD regularly transacts business in the Northern District of Illinois through KMBUS. KMHD is a non-resident Japanese corporation that does not conduct, and has never conducted, business in Illinois. KMHD's Mot. to Dismiss [Dkt. # 222], Ex. A Declaration of Masaru Kamei ("Kamei Decl.") ¶ 4. KMHD owns no real or personal property, has no offices, and has no bank accounts in Illinois. Id. It has never "manufactured products, performed services, or made sales in Illinois." Id. KMHD promotes the business of the Konica Minolta group of companies, and audits and manages the group's operations. Id. ¶ 3. Papst alleges no facts that contradict Mr. Kamei's Declaration.

Further, two different Konica corporate entities were responsible for manufacturing digital cameras and selling them in the United States: Konica Minolta Photo Imaging, Inc. ("KMPI") manufactured the cameras and Konica Minolta Photo Imaging U.S.A., Inc. ("KMPUS") sold the cameras in the United States. See KMHD's Reply [Dkt. # 236] at 1 n.1. Both KMPI and KMPUS left the digital camera business in April 2006. Id.

KMPI brought suit against Papst in this District seeking declaratory judgment of noninfringement. Konica-Minolta Photo Imaging, Inc. v. Papst Licensing GMBH & Co. KG, Civ. No. 08-1433 (D.D.C.) (the "District of Columbia Case"). Papst filed a counterclaim naming both KMPI and KMPUS as counter-defendants. Id., Answer & Counterclaim [Dkt. # 7 filed in 08-1433]. Because (1) the Court cannot exercise personal jurisdiction over Papst in this District; (2) Papst consented to personal jurisdiction in Illinois; and (3) Papst consented to jurisdiction in D.C. solely for the purpose of multidistrict proceedings, the Court ordered the transfer of the District of Columbia Case to the Northern District of Illinois when the multidistrict proceedings conclude. See Mem. Op. & Order [Dkt. ## 261 & 262] filed in the MDL docket 07-ms-493 on Dec. 11, 2008, and identical Mem. Op. & Order [Dkt. ## 5 & 6] filed in 08-cv-1433 on Dec. 12, 2008.


A. Personal Jurisdiction

On a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2), the plaintiff bears the burden of establishing a factual basis for the court's exercise of personal jurisdiction over the defendant. Murphy v. PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP, 357 F. Supp. 2d 230, 242 (D.D.C. 2004) (citing Crane v. N.Y. Zoological Soc'y, 894 F.2d 454, 456 (D.C. Cir. 1990)). The plaintiff must allege specific acts connecting the defendant with the forum. Second Amendment Found. v. U.S. Conference of Mayors, 274 F.3d 521, 524 (D.C. Cir. 2001). Bare allegations and conclusory statements are insufficient. Id.; see also First Chicago Int'l v. United Exch. Co., 836 F.2d 1375, 1378-79 (D.C. Cir. 1988) (the bare allegation of conspiracy or agency is insufficient to establish personal jurisdiction). In determining whether a factual basis for personal jurisdiction exists, the court should resolve factual discrepancies in favor of the plaintiff. Crane, 894 F.2d at 456. The court need not treat all of the plaintiff"s allegations as true, however. United States v. Philip Morris Inc., 116 F. Supp. 2d 116, 120 n.4 (D.D.C. 2000). Instead, the court "may receive and weigh affidavits and any other relevant matter to assist it in determining the jurisdictional facts."


B. Amendment of Complaint

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure ...

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