Case of the Day: Surefire LLC v. Casual Home Worldwide, Inc.

The case of the day is Surefire, LLC v. Casual Home Worldwide, Inc. (S.D. Cal. 2012). Surefire sued Fenixlight Ltd., a Chinese company, for patent infringement. It served the summons and complaint on Ming Chiang in Nevada and asserted that he was an agent authorized to accept service on behalf of Fenixlight. Although Surefire argued that Chiang had told the process server that he was authorized to accept service, Surefire offered no testimony to that effect, while Fenixlight offered affidavits to prove that Chiang was not authorized; in any case, a supposed agent’s statement that he has authority to accept service on behalf of a corporation is not dispositive under ordinary principles of agency law, which require a manifestation of authority from the principal, not the agent. The judge correctly quashed the service of process.

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