June 25, 2019 technology

Click Here to Limit Personal Jurisdiction

Where do the boundaries begin and end, when applied to the boundless reach of the internet?

By Stephen E. Breidenbach

Where do the boundaries of personal jurisdiction begin and end, when applied to the boundless reach of the internet? Courts attempting to answer that question have reached mixed results—meaning internet users could find themselves at the mercy of an unfamiliar, and perhaps unfavorable, courtroom far away from their home jurisdiction if a dispute arises. For those seeking more control and certainty over jurisdiction, incorporating a clickwrap agreement into a website may be the answer.

How Courts Apply Personal Jurisdiction to Websites and E-Commerce: The Zippo Test

General or all-purpose jurisdiction exists where a defendant is either domiciled or engages in “substantial” or “continuous and systematic” activities in the forum state. Where a defendant has either limited or no physical presence in a state, as is the case with most litigation arising out of an internet transaction, courts look to whether a defendant has certain “minimum contacts” with the forum to establish specific jurisdiction.

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