District Judge Lorna G. Schofield

 

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German luggage maker Rimowa GmbH retained German advertising firm Meiré GmbH & Co. KG to design an advertising campaign for its products. After the campaign’s launch plaintiff Laspata DeCaro Studio Corp. sued Rimowa and its subsidiaries (collectively Rimowa Entities), and Meiré, alleging the photographs used infringed its copyrights. The Rimowa Entities asserted crossclaims against Meiré based on its alleged misrepresentation that it owned the copyrights to the subject images. Meiré sought dismissal of the counterclaims for lack of personal jurisdiction or, alternatively, on forum non conveniens grounds based on a forum selection clause in an April 2011 “General Terms and Conditions” (GTC) document, placing jurisdiction in Cologne, Germany and applying German law. The court dismissed suit pursuant to the forum selection clause. Applying German law, the court found the GTC’s forum clause incorporated into the parties’ March 2014 agreement. Further applying German law to the four-part analysis outlined by Phillips v. Audio Active Ltd., 494 F.3d 378, the court found the mandatory forum selection clause, reasonably communicated to Rimowa, enforceable and applicable to the crossclaims asserted by Rimowa’s subsidiaries.