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Intellectual Property – Copyright Infringement – Venue – Florida Lawsuit

Deborah Elkins//December 2, 2010

Intellectual Property – Copyright Infringement – Venue – Florida Lawsuit

Deborah Elkins//December 2, 2010//

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A Virginia-based company that developed software for video transmission over the Internet, and had a contract with defendant Internet Technology Broadcasting Corporation, a Delaware company with its principal place of business in Florida, to develop software for the Department of Veterans Affairs, can keep its lawsuit for copyright infringement in Virginia, as an Alexandria U.S. District Court denies defendant’s motion to dismiss and provisionally denies its motion to transfer venue to a Florida federal court.

Defendants claim plaintiff’s lawsuit is so duplicative of the concurrent Florida suit as to warrant dismissal by this court. While there may be some overlap between the instant case and the Florida case, the two are not entirely duplicative because, as defendants acknowledge, the Florida suit does not contain the copyright claims. The Florida suit cannot yield a “complete” resolution of the issues at stake in this case.

Further, this court has personal jurisdiction over defendant because plaintiff’s complaint shows defendants to have availed themselves of the privilege of conducting activities in Virginia, thereby establishing minimum contacts in the commonwealth, when it engaged plaintiff, a Virginia-based company, to develop software.

Defendants seek to have the case transferred to the Middle District of Florida. They argue that transfer is appropriate because the Florida suit was filed first, plaintiff is allegedly engaging in forum-shopping, most witnesses and evidence relevant to the case are located in Florida, plaintiff already must travel to Florida to defend itself in the Florida suit, and no significant harm will ensue to plaintiff from the transfer. Plaintiff responds that a plaintiff’s choice of forum – particularly its home forum – is given great weight, the suit is no less connected to Virginia than any other state, likely witnesses are spread across the country and are not all located in Florida, Virginia is not an inconvenient state for defendants to litigate in and the Florida suit will likely be dismissed on presumption grounds.

This court finds that it lacks sufficient information to warrant transfer at this time. The court will provisionally deny the motion to transfer venue pending the conclusion of discovery.

Softech Worldwide Inc. v. Internet Technology Broadcasting Corp. (Cacheris, J.) No. 1:10cv651, Aug. 23, 2010; USDC at Alexandria, Va. VLW 010-3-439, 16 pp.

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