from the United States District Court for the Eastern
District of Tennessee in No. 2:15-cv-00153-JRG-MCLC, Judge J.
Michael J. Bradford, Luedeka Neely Group, PC, Knoxville, TN,
argued for plaintiff-appellant. Also represented by Mark P.
Patricia Louise Ray, D&R IP Law Firm, APLC, Alhambra, CA,
argued for defendant-appellee. Also represented by Tony Wong,
Monterey Park, CA.
Dyk, Reyna, and Hughes, Circuit Judges.
Investments Limited ("Maxchief") appeals from the
judgment of the District Court for the Eastern District of
Tennessee. The district court dismissed Maxchief's
declaratory judgment action against Wok & Pan, Ind., Inc.
("Wok") for lack of personal jurisdiction and
dismissed Maxchief's tortious interference claim for lack
of subject matter jurisdiction. Because Wok lacked sufficient
contacts with the forum state of Tennessee for personal
jurisdiction as to both the declaratory judgment claim and
the tortious interference claim, we affirm.
makes plastic folding tables. It has its principal place of
business in China and distributes one of its tables-the UT-18
table-exclusively through Meco Corporation
("Meco"), which is located in Greenville,
Tennessee. Meco sells the UT-18 tables to retailers such as
Staples, Inc. ("Staples") and The Coleman Company
("Coleman"), which in turn sell the tables to
competes with Maxchief in the market for plastic folding
tables, and also has its principal place of business in
China. Wok is the owner of U.S. Patent Nos. 5, 957, 061, 8,
881, 661, 8, 931, 421, and 9, 089, 204 (collectively,
"the Wok patents"), which are directed to folding
separate actions are relevant here. In February 2015, Wok
filed suit against Maxchief's customer, Staples, in the
Central District of California, alleging that Staples'
sale of Maxchief's UT-18 table infringed the Wok patents.
See Wok & Pan, Ind., Inc. v. Staples, Inc., No.
2:15-cv-00809 (C.D. Cal.) ("the Staples action").
Staples requested that Meco, the distributor of the table,
defend and indemnify Staples. Meco in turn requested that
Maxchief defend and indemnify Meco and Staples. The Staples
action is stayed pending the outcome of this case.
from the Staples action, Maxchief filed this action against
Wok in the Eastern District of Tennessee. In its amended
complaint, filed on September 2, 2016, Maxchief sought
declarations of non-infringement or invalidity of all claims
of the Wok patents. The complaint also alleged tortious
interference with business relations under Tennessee state
law. Wok moved to dismiss all claims for lack of personal
jurisdiction. There is no contention here that Wok is
subject to general jurisdiction in Tennessee. Maxchief claims
only that Wok is subject to specific personal jurisdiction.
September 29, 2017, the district court dismissed the
declaratory judgment claim for lack of personal jurisdiction.
Maxchief Invs. Ltd. v. Wok & Pan, Ind., Inc.,
No. 2:15-CV-153, 2017 WL 6601921 (E.D. Tenn. Sept. 29, 2017).
The court held that Maxchief failed to allege that Wok had
sufficient minimum contacts with Tennessee, because although
Wok "sought to enforce the patents against other parties
in other courts," Wok "did not seek to enforce
[its] patents in the forum state of Tennessee."
Id. at *7.
respect to the state law tortious interference claim, the
district court noted that Maxchief had not "explicitly
allege[d]" that the court had subject matter
jurisdiction over this claim, and indicated that amendment of
the complaint would be futile and unduly prejudicial to Wok
because "there is no independent federal ...