Federal court says it lacks jurisdiction in computer information theft case filed in Louisiana

By John Sammon | Jun 11, 2018

NEW ORLEANS – The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana recently dismissed a lawsuit alleging the theft of computer information by a Texas-based direct mail marketing firm saying it had no jurisdiction over the case.

“None of the defendants’ allegedly wrongful acts took place in Louisiana,” the May 29 court filing said.

The plaintiff, Future World Electronics of New Orleans, and the defendant, Texas-based Results HQ LLC are both in the automotive direct mail industry. Future World Electronics designed, branded and licensed advertising templates for use in direct mail campaigns with each template having with its own sales theme, court filings said.

The court filings said the plaintiff licensed its templates to a Louisiana company, Your Preferred Printer LLC (YPP).

The suit alleged that Results HQ developed a business relationship with YPP and visited the company's Louisiana facility several times, during which the defendants obtained copies of the plaintiff’s templates by accessing a computer server. The allegation stated Results HQ terminated its relationship with YPP and then produced, printed and distributed direct mail advertisements similar to the plaintiff’s (Future World’s) works.

Future World Electronics sued Results HQ on Dec. 29, 2017, for copyright and trademark infringement and trademark dilution.

Results HQ moved to have the complaint dismissed contending that the Louisiana court lacked jurisdiction.

The court found that the plaintiff had failed to establish in the complaint that the defendant's allegedly unlawful acts took place in Louisiana, only that the defendant had a business relationship with YPP.

In addition, the court said that although officials from Results HQ had visited YPP’s operation several times over several years, the complaint did not allege that the purpose of the visits was to access the plaintiff’s intellectual property.

"The plaintiff alleges the access allowed defendants to obtain copies of the plaintiff’s digital portfolio, but the plaintiff fails to allege that the defendants were not entitled to access the server under the terms of the defendants’ business relationship with YPP,” the court said.

The court found that the location of the computer server in Louisiana gave no indication it had any bearing on the defendant’s conduct. The court also determined the complaint was not based on the acquisition of intellectual property but on its subsequent use.

“The defendants do not have minimum contacts with Louisiana merely because they accessed a server that happens to be located in the state,” the brief noted.

The motion to dismiss the case by the defendant was granted by the court.

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