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Judge Tosses Law Firm’s Suit Over Trademark

ATLANTA (CN) - A federal judge in Georgia tossed a lawsuit between law firms battling over a supposedly trademarked slogan, finding he didn't have jurisdiction over the California firm named as defendant.

FisherBroyles LLP sued Juris Law Group last year over its used of the phrase "the next generation law firm."

The plaintiff firm, which is based in Atlanta, but has 10 offices nationwide, including California, says it has registered the phrase as a trademark, that Juris copied it after seeing it on the Georgia firm's website, and that the defendant's continued use of the slogan will cause confusion in the marketplace.

Juris Law Group, which operates two offices in California, filed a motion for dismissal on the grounds that it has never handled a case in Georgia, and therefore is not subject to the jurisdiction of a court inside the state.

U.S. District Judge William Duffey, Jr. sided with Juris last week.

"Even though defendant's website, with the allegedly infringed mark, was accessible in Georgia and other states, including, apparently California, plaintiff does not allege that defendant actually obtained any clients or other business in Georgia through its website or by using the mark," Duffey wrote. "Plaintiff simply has failed to allege or show that defendant's alleged infringement constituted the 'transaction of business' in Georgia."

Duffey also explained his court was not the proper venue for the case because FisherBroyles did not provide a basis for exercising long-arm jurisdiction.

But while the judge tossed the trademark infringement claim, he denied Juris' motion to sanction FisherBroyles for bad faith.

"Plaintiff filed its complaint, and defendant responded with its motion to dismiss. Defendant has not been required to engage in any additional work, or to prepare any additional pleadings or motions to support an award of sanctions," Duffey wrote.

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