Case of the Day: Toyo Tire & Rubber v. CIA Wheel Group

The case of the day is Toyo Toy & Rubber Co. v. CIA Wheel Group (C.D. Cal. 2016). Toyo sued Hong Kong Tri–Ace Tire Co. and Jinlin Ma for trade dress infringement, fraud, unfair competition, etc. They sought leave to serve process by email. Both defendants were thought to be in Hong Kong, but Toyo, after some investigation, did not know their address.

The court correctly held that because the addresses were unknown, under Article, 1, the Hague Service Convention did not apply, and thus the Convention had no bearing on whether email service was permissible. The court went on to say, in light of some of the wrongly decided cases on the point, that the Convention did not bar service by email, that email service would be proper even if the Convention did apply. This should be read as a dictum. I will continue to keep my finger in the dike.

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