Game Developer Moves to Transfer Trademark Suit Outside of NCAA Home Ground
On August 31, 2017, defendant Kizzang LLC, a game developer, filed a motion in its case against the NCAA to either move the case from the Indiana Federal Court or dismiss it for lack of jurisdiction and venue. The suit stems from the allegations that Kizzang infringed on the NCAA’s trademarks, “March Madness” and “Final Four.”
Kizzang claimed the NCAA filed the suit in the Indiana Federal Court only out of convenience and that none of its allegations included any direct contact with the state. Instead, Kizzang, and owner Robert Alexander, moved to dismiss the case for this reason or to move the case to Nevada, where Alexander lives and where the company is registered. The Indiana Federal Court is convenient for the NCAA because its principal place of business is in Indianapolis. However, the only contact Kizzang has with the state of Indiana is that its games can be accessed in the state via the Internet. Kizzang claimed this is not enough to exert personal jurisdiction over Alexander and Kizzang. Kizzang further argued that the court would have to find they purposefully exploited the market in Indiana. In further support of moving the case to Nevada, Kizzang argued there would be no prejudice and there would be no concerns of the court facing a judicial emergency. The judicial emergency references the NCAA’s previous motion for default, which argued that Kizzang’s and Alexander’s delays were burdening the court, which was already in a judicial emergency of increased workloads and a judge shortage.
In addition, Alexander moved to dismiss the case against him individually. He alleges that he cannot be personally liable for the actions of Kizzang as a member of the limited liability company because the NCAA did not allege extreme misconduct or absolute control that is necessary to pierce the corporate veil. If the case against Alexander is not dismissed, he also moved to have the case transferred to Nevada. The NCAA has not responded yet to Kizzang’s and Alexander’s motion to dismiss or transfer the case to Nevada.