Courts have long held and plaintiffs in patent cases have come to rely on the fact that a court may exercise specific personal jurisdiction over the defendant if "(1) the defendant purposefully directed its activities at residents of the forum, (2) the claim arises out of or relates to those activities, and (3) assertion of personal jurisdiction is reasonable and fair." Breckenridge Pharms., Inc. v. Metabolite Labs., Inc., 444 F.3d 1356,1363 (Fed. Cir. 2006) (citing Akro Corp. v. Luker, 45 F.3d 1541,1545-46 (Fed. Cir. 1995)).
"[E]ven a single act can support [specific] jurisdiction, so long as it creates a substantial connection with the forum, as opposed to an attenuated affiliation." Red Wing Shoe Co., Inc. v. Hockerson-Halberstadt, Inc., 148 F.3d 1355, 1359 (Fed. Cir. 1998) (quoting Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 475 & n.18) (1985) (holding the Due Process Clause is satisfied for personal jurisdiction purposes if a defendant purposefully avails itself of the privilege of conducting activities within the forum State, thus invoking the benefits and protections of its laws.) (internal quotation omitted).
Despite the low threshold to satisfy specific jurisdiction, a plaintiff cannot manufacture specific jurisdiction by purchasing an infringing product.
In Van Romer, et. al. v. Argonaut Inflatable Research and Engineering Inc., 8-10-cv-02649 (SCD August 24, 2011, Order) (Austin, M.J.), the Court held that Plaintiffs were attempting to do just that when they purchased a single infringing item from the Defendant in Idaho and had it shipped to the Plaintiffs in South Carolina.
Although "Plaintiffs contend[ed] the purchase was not made to create jurisdiction but was for the purpose of establishing a solid factual basis for filing the Complaint through a physical examination of the accused device", because this was the only sale of an allegedly infringing product made by the Defendant in South Carolina, the Court held "that this one sale of the allegedly infringing product linking Defendant to South Carolina cannot form the basis for specific jurisdiction over Defendant because Defendant did not purposefully avail itself of the privilege of conducting activities in South Carolina."
In so holding the Court stated that:
Generally, when an alleged infringer is shown to have sold the allegedly infringing product in the forum state, the forum may exercise personal jurisdiction over the alleged infringer. See Beverly Hills Fan [Co. v. Royal Sovereign Corp., 21 F.3d 1558, 1570-71 (Fed. Cir. 1994)]. Courts have repeatedly held, however, that jurisdiction may not be manufactured by the conduct of others. See Red Wing Shoe, 148 F.3d at 1359 (holding contacts resulting from the unilateral activity of others do not count in the minimum contacts calculation); Chung v. NANA Dev. Corp., 783 F.2d 1124, 1127 (4th Cir. 1986); Edberg v. Neogen Corp., 17 F. Supp. 2d 104, 112 (D. Conn. 1998) (holding one sale by manufacturer of an allegedly infringing product, totaling $246, to a single unsolicited buyer in the forum state did not satisfy the minimum contacts requirement for the exercise of specific jurisdiction).