In the 1990s, when the Internet was still considered novel, courts struggled with the question of how Internet-related contacts should be treated in the personal jurisdiction analysis. So when Zippo Manufacturing v. Zippo DOT Com established an apparently easy-to-apply test for deciding whether a defendant’s virtual contacts are sufficient for personal jurisdiction, many courts embraced it . To date, however, the Federal Circuit has neither adopted nor rejected the Zippo approach, leaving litigants and lower courts in patent cases with little guidance on the issue. Although a recent decision suggests that the Federal Circuit recognizes the limitations of Zippo, it is time for the court to set forth clear guidelines for analyzing questions of personal jurisdiction in patent cases when the defendant’s contacts with the forum state are limited to Internet activity.
Megan M. La Belle, Virtual Contacts in Patent Cases: How Should Internet-Related Contacts Affect the Personal Jurisdiction Analysis?, 13 J. INTERNET L. 43 (2010).