NBA wins key round in dispute with online Chinese retailer

The National Basketball Association (NBA) in the US has won a key victory in an ongoing legal dispute with an online Chinese retailers, after the Seventh Circuit agreed that the defendant was subject to an Illinois federal court's jurisdiction.

The suit – brought by NBA Properties which is the owner and exclusive licensee of the trademarks of the NBA and its teams – accuses HANWJH of selling products that infringe NBA intellectual property on

It claims that HANWJH sold 205 IP-infringing products that were available for purchase in the US, including 41 different basketball shorts in five different size options.

Test purchases giving an address in Illinois were completed, according to the complaint, contravening the Chinese defendant's assertions that it had "never sold any other product to any consumer in Illinois nor had it any 'offices, employees,' 'real or personal property,' 'bank accounts,' or any other commercial dealings with Illinois."

HANWJH moved to dismiss and to lift an injunction on sales, arguing that the court lacked jurisdiction over it because it did not expressly aim any business at Illinois.

The court denied the motion to dismiss, saying it was satisfied that the defendant was carrying out business in the state, a ruling which was appealed by the Chinese retailer. That appeal has not been turned down.

"HANWJH availed itself of the Illinois market in offering and shipping a product to the forum," said Judge John Kness who presided over the case.

"Because of this purposeful direction, and because these contacts are related to the suit, it is subject to jurisdiction in Illinois."

Image by Jody Davis from Pixabay 

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