Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Two Employees and Independent Contractor Do Not Create Regular and Established Place of Business​

The court granted defendant's alternative motion to transfer plaintiff's patent infringement action for improper venue because defendant's two employees and an independent contractor did not create a regular and established place of business in the forum. "[Defendant] acknowledges that a full-time IT employee works remotely from Florida and a second employee titled a 'Guru' supplies knowledge about [defendant's] products at racing events throughout Florida. Also, two non-employee independent contractors, only one of whom resides in this District, have a relationship with [defendant]. Plaintiff implores the Court to find these four individuals are prima facie evidence that venue is proper in this District, citing a case from the Eastern District of Texas, Ratheon Co. v. Cray, Inc., No. 2:15-cv— 1554-JRG, 2017 WL 2813896 (E.D. Tex. June 29, 2017), which set out four factors that a court can consider to determine whether a defendant had a 'regular and established place of business' within the venue. The Court declines to adopt such a standard as it is clear from the Complaint and the evidence submitted by the parties that [defendant] has no regular and established place of business in this District; and particularly in patent infringement cases, the acts of infringement (i.e., development of the [accused product]) occurred at the Defendant’s headquarters in Washington or overseas."

Townsend v. Brooks Sports, Inc., 2-17-cv-00062 (FLMD August 31, 2017, Order) (Chappell, MJ)

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