Friday, December 31, 2010

Substitute service of process ordered for defendant from Russian Federation

Lexology - 12/31/10

Judges: Rader (author), Newman, Prost

[Appealed from N.D. Cal., Judge White]

In Nuance Communications, Inc. v. Abbyy Software House, No. 10-1100 (Fed. Cir. Nov. 12, 2010), the Federal Circuit reversed the district court’s dismissal of Abbyy Production LLC (“Abbyy Production”) for lack of personal jurisdiction. To allow for additional discovery, the Court also vacated the district court’s dismissal of Abbyy Software, Ltd. (“Abbyy Software”). The Court also reversed the dismissal of the case for improper service of process.

Nuance Communications, Inc. (“Nuance”) originally sued Abbyy USA Software House (“Abbyy USA”) and Lexmark International, Inc. for infringement of its method and system patents directed to optical character recognition, and document recognition and management. Based on responses to interrogatories, Nuance filed an Amended Complaint, adding as defendants Abbyy Software, Abbyy USA’s parent, and Abbyy Production, a wholly owned subsidiary of Abbyy Software and the provider of Abbyy USA’s software products and support. Abbyy Software and Abbyy Production are corporations organized under the laws of Cyprus and Russia, respectively. A local process server served Abbyy Production in Moscow with the Amended Complaint, Amended Summons, and Standing Orders of the Court. The Abbyy defendants then filed a motion to dismiss Abbyy Production and Abbyy Software for lack of personal jurisdiction, and to dismiss Abbyy Production for improper service of process. The district court concluded that the record did not show that Abbyy Production or Abbyy Software purposefully directed any specific activity at residents of California or within the forum state, or that Nuance’s claims arise out of those activities. The district court further concluded that Nuance did not properly serve Abbyy Production in accordance with the Hague Convention. The district court also dismissed the suit against Abbyy Software sua sponte for improper service of process. In its decisions, the district court did not address Nuance’s request for jurisdictional discovery.

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Substitute service of process ordered for defendant from Russian Federation

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