Blockchange Ventures I GP, LLC. v. Blockchange, Inc, 1:21-cv-00891-PAE (SDNY July 22, 2021.
Jurisdictional discovery will be required.
From the decision (Edelman, J): “Plaintiff, based in New York, is “engaged in the provision of venture capital, development capital, private equity, investment funding and wealth management exclusively in the field of digital assets.” . Plaintiff characterizes Defendant, a California corporation with its headquarters in San Jose, CA, as dealing in “investment services and wealth management exclusively in the field of digital assets.”  Defendant denies that it is an investor, and counters that it is instead a software-as-a-service (“SaaS”) provider for “SEC-regulated registered investment advisors.” In its supporting declarations, Defendant alleges that it has no business ties to New York—no address, servers, bank account, real or personal property, telephone listing, or agents or employees in the state—and that it does not “buy or sell any assets in New York” or “solicit business in New York.”. It is vague, however, as to whether the “assets” it refers to includes the SaaS product that it provides to investment advisors.

To be clear, the fundamental issue is whether Defendant, either on its own through its website, or through a partnership with Gemini, has sold its services under the allegedly infringing “Blockchange” mark to customers in New York. Absent such evidence, the Court expects to dismiss Plaintiff’s claims for lack of personal jurisdiction; if such evidence is adduced through discovery, the Court expects to deny Defendant’s motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(2). Given these clear guideposts, the Court encourages the parties, after discovery, to confer as to whether further motion practice on this point is necessary, or whether—as to the limited issue of personal jurisdiction—the record is clear enough to obviate such a need.”