Faceporn Trademark Suit Could Be Dismissed

Dec 8, 2011 12:30 PM PST

SAN FRANCISCO — A federal court, on its own motion, has raised the issue of personal jurisdiction in Facebook's suit against Faceporn.com, operated out of Norway.

Facebook has been ordered to show cause why its trademark infringement lawsuit against Faceporn shouldn't be dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction.

"Facebook alleges that Faceporn is a highly interactive website that has 250 users in California and 1,000 users in the U.S., and that Faceporn targeted 'a U.S. audience' by registering its website with a domain name ending in 'com.,'" the court said in an order.

"These allegations alone, without facts showing that Faceporn’s California viewer base was 'an integral component' of Faceporn’s business model and profitability, falls short of meeting Facebook’s burden to establish that the exercise of personal jurisdiction over defendants is proper."

The court, citing precedent in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals case Mavrix Photo vs. Brandtech, said that '[n]ot all material placed on the Internet is, solely by virtue of its universal accessibility, expressly aimed at every state in which it is accessed.'" 

Facebook sued Thomas Pedersen, of Bergen, Norway, and company Retro Invent, which ran the Faceporn site (The site currently redirects to tube site Faceporn.no.). Faceporn offered porn and allowed users to create profiles, join groups, upload photos and video and conduct live chats.

Facebook served Pedersen and Retro Invent using the Hague Convention on service abroad of judicial documents, and later moved for default judgment, which was stymied by the order to show cause by U.S. District Judge Nathanael Cousins.

Cousins gave Facebook until Monday to show cause why the case infringement case shouldn't be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

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