Service of process abroad was always presented to me as a difficult issue. And, it can be. The most recent, and important, discussion that bears on that process may be found in Water Splash, Inc. v. Menon, 2017 U.s. LEXIS 3212, Case No. 16-254 (2017) which resolved a circuit split regarding whether service by mail was sufficient or insufficient to satisfy The Hague Service Convention. In short, the Supreme Court found that service by mail under Article 10(a) is generally adequate so long as two conditions are met: (1) the receiving state has not objected to service by mail; and (2) service by mail is authorized under otherwise-applicable law.
There is a unique interplay with the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure 106 and special rules for service of corporations that enable service by service upon the Texas Secretary of State. Judge Albright in the Western District of Texas recently discussed this interplay in Buffalo Patents, LLC v. ZTE Corp., 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 101232, Case No. W-21-CV-01065 (W.D. Tex. June 3, 2022). There, Judge Albright found that Texas statute did authorize so-called Whitney service on a foreign defendant, but that the service was improper under the Hague Convention.
Jonathan Pearce will discuss these cases and the general state of foreign service at our weekly SoCal IP Institute discussion on July 18, 2022.