Hillsborough County lighting store's alleged trademark infringement case dismissed

By Marian Johns | May 6, 2019

TAMPA — A federal court has dismissed a case involving a Hillsborough County outdoor lighting factory direct delivery store, alleging trademark infringement against an Oregon commercial lighting manufacturer due to the lack of jurisdiction in Florida. 

According to the Feb. 25 U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida Tampa Division order, plaintiff Volt LLC filed a suit against the Volt Lighting Group (VLG) of Oregon, alleging trademark infringement with VLG petitioning the court to dismiss the case due to lack of personal jurisdiction.

Volt, a Florida lighting store, argues that VLG, a commercial lighting manufacturer, is operating a website under the domain www.voltlightinggroup.com, which is "confusingly similar" to the plaintiff's domain, which is voltlighting.com.  

Volt, which acquired the "VOLT" trademark in 2014 and has used the trademark since 2009 including in trade-show ads, magazines and on the Internet. Products sold by the company on landscapelightingworld.com also had the name "Volt" on them. VLG bought the www.voltlightinggroup.com domain in 2011 but did not sell products through the voltlightinggroup.com. However, about a year later VLG transitioned its business and began selling lighting on the Internet and used voltlighting.com. 


VLG argues it did not know about Volt's website or business and received no complaints from Volt about the website. 

The court reviewed Florida's long-arm statute for the question of personal jurisdiction over a "non-resident such as VLG and if the law applied, would the Florida court's exercising of the statue violate VLG's 14th Amendment due process. 

U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday concluded that Volt failed "to show that VLG 'directly aimed' the allegedly infringing website at Florida. The court ruled to grant VLG's motion to dismiss due to lack of personal jurisdiction and dismissed the complaint without prejudice. 

 

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