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