The plaintiffs in two copyright infringement cases assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Gregory H. Woods in the Southern District of New York want to use email to serve summons on dozens of defendants located in the People’s Republic of China.
Woods was concerned about the validity of email service, which U.S. District Court Judge Joan B. Gottschall considered in Luxottica Group v. Partnerships & Unincorporated Associations identified on Schedule “A,” 391 F.Supp.3d 816 (N.D. Ill. 2019). The judge asked for help from a professor and director of Hong Yen Chang Center for Chinese Legal Studies at Columbia University Law School, for “disinterested legal advice regarding whether a foreign plaintiff may, under relevant Chinese law, properly serve via email a defendant located in the People’s Republic of China.”
A pre-internet treaty, the 1965 Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters (“treaty”) was designed to simplify and standardize the serving process abroad. Each member nation of the Hague Convention is supposed to designate a central authority to receive service of process.