Raytheon Company v. Cray, Inc., 2-15-cv-01554 (TXED June 29, 2017, Order) (Gilstrap, USDJ)
Monday, July 3, 2017
Judge Gilstrap Recognizes Four-Factor Test for Determining Regular and Established Place of Business Under 28 U.S.C. § 1400(b)
In determining whether defendant maintained a regular and established place of business in the forum for purposes of 28 U.S.C. § 1400(b), the court recognized a four-factor approach consisting of physical presence, defendant's representations, benefits received, and targeted interactions. "Since the Supreme Court’s decision in [TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Grp. Brands LLC, 137 S. Ct. 1514 (2017)], this Court has received a number of motions to dismiss or transfer based on improper venue. It is evident from these motions, and their subsequent briefing, that there is uncertainty among the litigants regarding the scope of the phrase 'regular and established place of business.' . . . [T]his Court now attempts to provide guideposts to point the venue analysis in a single coherent direction. . . . First, the Court considers the extent to which a defendant has a physical presence in the district, including but not limited to property, inventory, infrastructure, or people. At the most basic level, a retail store, warehouse, or other facility in the district weighs strongly in favor of finding a regular and established place of business. However . . . the lack of a physical building in the district is not dispositive. . . . Other forms of physical presence may also help support a finding of a regular and established place of business, such as inventory or property in the district[,] [and] the presence of equipment or infrastructure that is owned (or leased) by a defendant and used to provide services to customers. . . . Additionally, courts have considered the presence of employees in the district when determining whether a defendant has a regular and established place of business. . . . Second, the Court looks at the extent to which a defendant represents, internally or externally, that it has a presence in the district. . . . Third, the Court considers the extent to which a defendant derives benefits from its presence in the district, including but not limited to sales revenue. . . . Finally, the Court looks at the extent to which a defendant interacts in a targeted way with existing or potential customers, consumers, users, or entities within a district, including but not limited to through localized customer support, ongoing contractual relationships, or targeted marketing efforts."