Global Archery's Suit Against LARPing.org Tossed
from the we-done? dept
You may recall that a few months back we wrote about LARPing.org being sued by a company called Global Archery for trademark and patent infringement. At issue was LARPing.org, which is a hobby site for live action roleplayers, selling foam-tipped arrows acquired through a German manufacturer. Global Archery claims that those arrows infringed on a patent it owns and that LARPing.org’s use of Google Ad-Words infringed on its trademarks. While both of those charges seemed destined for loserdom, as the German company would be the patent infringers and the Google Ad-Words thing almost never works, the fact that Global Archery was relatively big and LARPing.org is tiny meant that perhaps that would be enough to tip the scales. With that in mind, Newegg’s Lee Cheng jumped into the fray, helping to back LARPing.org’s legal efforts in defending itself.
Today we’re left to wonder exactly how necessary that even was, given that the court has tossed Global Archery’s suit on grounds that it has no jurisdiction.
US District Judge Joseph Van Bokkelen didn’t rule on that request, or make any ruling on the case’s merits. Two weeks ago, Van Bokkelen issued a 7-page opinion finding that Gwyther’s ties to the state of Indiana were so minimal that his court didn’t have jurisdiction over the case.
We need to take a step back for a moment. Almost immediately after Cheng jumped into all of this, Global Archery dropped the patent portion of its suit. It claims that it was then that the prior art for the arrows LARPing.org was reselling was presented to them, except that Gwyther had presented it long before. Instead, this was almost certainly a patent troll realizing its victim had a larger backing and retreating. That left the Google Ad-Words trademark portion of the suit.
For that portion, Gwyther informed the court that he runs LARPing.org out of his home in Seattle, that he had never been to Indiana (where the suit was filed), and that his sales in Indiana amounted to something like $9,000. Global Archery attempted to argue that Gwyther had not questioned the court’s jurisdiction properly, but Judge Van Bokkelen wasn’t buying it.
The Court concludes Defendant did not waive or forfeit his personal jurisdiction defense. As for the merits of this defense, Plaintiff bears the burden of establishing that the Court has personal jurisdiction over Defendant. Advanced Tactical Ordnance Sys.’s, LLC v. Real Action Paintball, Inc., 751 F.3d 796, 799 (7th Cir. 2014). In its personal jurisdiction briefs, Plaintiff has not presented sufficient evidence to counter Defendant’s claims, and Plaintiff’s argument regarding personal jurisdiction is limited to a footnote and the last half of the last paragraph of the last brief. In any event, Plaintiff concedes that the Court lacks personal jurisdiction over Defendant, absent waiver.
And, thus, the suit is now tossed. Gwyther has said he hopes that this will be the end of it and that Global Archery will now leave his small hobby site alone. That certainly is what it should do, rather than giving another court another opportunity to smack it around again.
Filed Under: larp, larping, patents
Companies: global archery, larping.org
Comments on “Global Archery's Suit Against LARPing.org Tossed”
I had serious doubts that this lawsuit would ever succeed. Global Archery was trying to sue for infringement. But, there was no infringement because LARPing.org was purchasing the merchandise from a legitimate company and having them available so he could sell them through his website and generate income.
If this were allowed to proceed, then company’s like Apple could sue retailers for selling the iPhone, iPod, etc. and Microsoft could sue retailers for selling computers that had Windows installed on them.
It’s simply bad business when you start suing people and websites for purchasing merchandise legally. After all, that’s what third party sellers do all of the time.
How often have you seen companies not take “no” for an answer when litigiously harassing someone?
I predict that they’ll sit quiet for a while, hoping that Newegg’s support will vanish, then refile in Washington state.
I hope Lee Cheng gave Gwyther his cell phone number and told him, “If they come back, just text me the bat-signal. I’ll know what it means.”
I would bet that he will continue to be targeted and harrassed for daring to stand up to them.
Maybe, maybe not. Global Archery likely expected this to be a quick and easy win. Either LARPing.org would be unable to present a solid defense, or it would wrecked by the legal costs of taking it to the later stages of the lawsuit. Instead, LARPing.org got some solid outside backing, Global Archery was forced to gut it’s lawsuit, and what was left was thrown out at pretty much the earliest possible point.
Seeing as there’s not much that Global Archery can do further other than file another lawsuit in the proper jurisdiction, and this really isn’t turning out to be the sort of quiet, ease win they were imagining, I would not be surprised if they simply cut their losses and gave up.
Even if they did, why would they do that? The mere mention of Newegg sent these trolls running away.
This suit won’t be re-filed in its original form.
It appears that Global Archery filed for a patent on a arrow design that they were just reselling, not a design that they invented.
They used this patent to threaten competitors, knowing that those competitors couldn’t afford to fight in court.
And despite their claims that they weren’t properly translated everyone is now aware of the prior art that the German company patented that could be used to shatter Globals patents.
The sick thing is larping wasn’t a competitor because they weren’t selling the franchised but not franchised sport that Global does. This was Global trying to lock down foam arrows for themselves, and extract revenue in a market they hadn’t really entered yet.
Global Archery is still an ass-sucking patent troll.
Whether Global Archery refiles or not, we get to keep deriding them publicly, right? No matter how long Global Archery waits, if it decides to repeat its patent motherfuckery, the Internet will be lying in ambush.