Federal Circuit Overturns Finding of Lack of Personal Jurisdiction

July 21, 2016 – The Federal Circuit overturned a lower court decision that held Suunto did not infringe patents owned by Polar Electro for heart rate monitors.  After Polar sued Suunto and Amer Sports in Delaware, the district court dismissed the suit, saying Suunto did not have sufficient contacts with Delaware to support jurisdiction.  Suunto is a Finnish company with a principal place of business and manufacturing facilities in Finland.

The Federal Circuit, however, disagreed with the lower court’s finding.  “Suunto’s actions are purposefully directed to Delaware, indicating an intent and purpose to serve not only the U.S. market generally, but also the Delaware market specifically,” and therefore, “purposefully availed itself of the Delaware market.”  The patents-at-issue are U.S. Patent Nos. 5,611,346 and 6,537,222, which relate to a method and apparatus for measuring heart rates during physical exercise and athletic performance.

The case is captioned Polar Electro OY v. Suunto OY et al. in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit 2015-1930.

By:  Christopher J. Stankus

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