Atlanta Entertainment Law Team Obtains Dismissal For Netflix in IP Dispute
Atlanta, Ga. (October 11, 2021) - Atlanta Partner and Co-Chair of Lewis Brisbois' Intellectual Property & Technology Group Jonathan D. Goins, along with Associate Racquel V. McGee, recently secured a victory on behalf of Netflix when the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia dismissed a copyright and trademark infringement matter based on lack of personal jurisdiction.
In this case, a Georgia-based film producer sued Netflix, the world's largest streaming service, in May of this year over its distribution of a film called Skater Girl. The producer alleged that the film was similar to his own film that had the same title and claimed violations of copyright and trademark laws. Netflix moved to dismiss the case, contending that the court lacked personal jurisdiction and that the plaintiff failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted.
On October 7, 2021, Judge William Ray ruled in Netflix’s favor. Following U.S. Supreme Court precedent, the court held that the plaintiff did “not allege any connection between Netflix’s film and the forum state of Georgia. Netflix’s film in question was not created in Georgia; the film was filmed, developed, and produced entirely in India.” As such, the court granted dismissal in part on lack of personal jurisdiction grounds, and ultimately left the merits of the plaintiff’s claims for a federal court in California (where Netflix maintains production operations) to decide.
Achieving dismissal on jurisdictional grounds in this matter was imperative because a ruling to the contrary could have had drastic ramifications. Given the increase in film production in Georgia, allowing the case to proceed would have opened a “floodgate” of litigation involving media and entertainment companies.
In addition to handling intellectual property and technology matters, Mr. Goins and Ms. McGee are also members of Lewis Brisbois' Entertainment, Media & Sports Practice. With over 18 years of experience, Mr. Goins serves as lead counsel in IP litigation nationally across the country, including “bet the company” cases with multimillion-dollar exposure. He is consistently ranked in peer-recognitions and publications for his expertise in intellectual property, including being named among the world’s leading trademark professionals for the fourth consecutive year in the annual edition of the World Trademark Review (WTR) 1000.
Ms. McGee is an experienced professional who incorporates a holistic approach to the matters that she handles, resulting in sustainable legal solutions for her clients. While at Georgia State University College of Law, she served as Graduate Research Assistant for the Entertainment, Sports & Media Law Initiative and Trial Advocacy departments, where she helped to develop curricula and certificate programs.