Wireless Environment, LLC v. Mikafentech, Inc.
Opinion & Order signed by Judge James S. Gwin on 10/11/16 granting plaintiff's motion for email service under Rule 4(f)(3) for the reasons set forth in this order. The Court instructs plaintiff to contact defendant again to advise it of an answer deadline 30 days from the date of contact. (Related Doc. 19 ) (D,MA)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO
WIRELESS ENVIRONMENT, LLC,
CASE NO. 16-CV-517
OPINION & ORDER
[Resolving Doc. 19]
-----------------------------------------------------JAMES S. GWIN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE:
Plaintiff Wireless Environment, LLC (“Wireless”) moves for an order authorizing
alternative service of process upon Defendant Mikafentech, Inc. (“Mikafentech”) by email
pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 4(f)(3).1 For the following reasons, this Court
GRANTS Plaintiff’s motion for service of process by email.
On March 3, 2016, Plaintiff Wireless filed its complaint, alleging intellectual property
and Ohio unfair competition claims against Defendant Mikafentech.2 In March and April 2016,
Wireless twice attempted service by mail at Mikafentech’s registered Colorado address, but both
mail summons were returned unexecuted.3 During that time, Wireless’s process server also
attempted personal service in Colorado, but the process server found Mikafentech’s registered
address was vacant.4
Docs. 5, 6, 8, 9, 10-3.
Docs. 10-4, 10-5.
Case No. 16-cv-517
On May 31, 2016, Wireless emailed a copy of the summons and complaint to two email
addresses belonging to Mikafentech owner Cun Yu Chen.5 On June 20, 2016, Wireless received
a response from one of the email addresses stating that Defendant had read Plaintiff’s email.6 On
July 1, 2016, Wireless moved the Court to authorize service of process by email under Rule
4(f)(3), but the Court denied Wireless’s request without prejudice.7
Wireless next attempted service by mail to the two Chinese addresses that Mikafentech
registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). On July 26, 2016, the
clerk of court issued a summons to the Chinese addresses by certified mail.8 Although the
Chinese postal agent in Beijing received both packages, the Court has not received any status
updates on either mailing.9 A process server investigating the Chinese addresses on behalf of
Wireless determined that no one named Cun Yu Chen could be found at either address.10
Plaintiff Wireless argues that any form of service—personal, by mail, or otherwise—
targeted at the Colorado or Chinese addresses is futile, and moves for an order authorizing
alternative service of process upon Defendant Mikafentech by email under Rule 4(f)(3).11
This Court has discretion to allow service of process by email when warranted by the
case’s facts and circumstances.12 When an “‘international e-business scofflaw . . . play[s] hideand-seek with the federal court, e-mail may be the only means of effecting service of process.’”13
Such is the case here. Service via email provides Mikafentech reasonable notice of this action.14
Doc. 12-7 at 2.
Doc. 12-8 at 3.
Doc. 19 at 7.
Docs. 19-2, 19-3.
Doc. 19 at 1, 5.
Lexmark Int'l, Inc. v. Ink Techs. Printer Supplies, LLC, 295 F.R.D. 259, 261 (S.D. Ohio 2013).
Popular Enters., LLC v. Webcom Media Group, Inc., 225 F.R.D. 560, 563 (E.D. Tenn. 2004) (quoting Rio
Properties, Inc. v. Rio Intern. Interlink, 284 F.3d 1007, 1018 (9th Cir. 2002)).
See Elcometer, Inc. v. TQC-USA, Inc., No. 12-cv-14628, 2013 WL 592660, at * 3 (E.D. Mich. Feb. 14, 2013).
Case No. 16-cv-517
This Court GRANTS Plaintiff’s request for email service. The Court instructs Plaintiff to
contact Mikafentech again to advise it of an answer deadline thirty days from the date of contact.
For the above reasons, this Court GRANTS Plaintiff’s motion for email service under
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated: October 11, 2016
James S. Gwin
JAMES S. GWIN
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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