190 F.3d 333 (5th Cir. 1999), 98-20770, Mink v AAAA Development LLC

Docket Nº:98-20770
Citation:190 F.3d 333
Party Name:DAVID MINK, Plaintiff/Appellant, v. AAAA DEVELOPMENT LLC, doing business as Adamant Development, doing business as Four A Development, doing business as Upfront, ET AL, Defendants, AAAA DEVELOPMENT LLC, doing business as Adamant Development, doing business as Four A Development, doing business as Upfront, and DAVID MIDDLEBROOK, Defendants/Appellees
Case Date:September 17, 1999
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
 
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Page 333

190 F.3d 333 (5th Cir. 1999)

DAVID MINK, Plaintiff/Appellant,

v.

AAAA DEVELOPMENT LLC, doing business as Adamant Development, doing business as Four A Development, doing business as Upfront, ET AL, Defendants,

AAAA DEVELOPMENT LLC, doing business as Adamant Development, doing business as Four A Development, doing business as Upfront, and DAVID MIDDLEBROOK, Defendants/Appellees.

No. 98-20770

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

September 17, 1999

Page 334

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas

Before WIENER, DeMOSS, and PARKER, Circuit Judges.

ROBERT M. PARKER, Circuit Judge:

David Mink appeals the district court's dismissal of his complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction. We affirm.

I. FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS

David Mink is a Texas resident who works in the retail furniture business. In January 1997, Mink claims that he began to develop a computer program, the Opportunity Tracking Computer System ("OTC"), designed to track information on sales made and opportunities missed on sales not made. On May 13, 1997, Mink submitted a patent application for the computer software and hardware that he developed to the United States Patent and Trademark Office. He also submitted a copyright application for the OTC to the United States Copyright Office.

Page 335

Mink claims that in June 1997 he was approached by a Colorado resident named Richard Stark at a trade show. Stark allegedly asked Mink if he would be interested in marketing the OTC product with Stark's software at an upcoming computer seminar. Mink gave Stark a full demonstration of the OTC system, including its written material. While Mink initially declined Stark's offer to market the software together, Mink later contacted Stark to discuss the possibility of Stark marketing his product.

Between June 1997 and October 1997, Stark allegedly shared all of Mink's ideas and information on the OTC system with David Middlebrook. According to Mink's complaint, Middlebrook and two companies, AAAA Development and Profitsystems, conspired to copy Mink's copyrighted and patent-pending OTC system and create an identical system of their own for financial gain.

AAAA Development is a Vermont corporation with its principal place of business in Vermont. Middlebrook is a Vermont resident. Neither AAAA Development nor Middlebrook own property in Texas. Mink is silent concerning where his contacts with the defendants occurred. However, we infer that the contacts were not in Texas based on the statement in Middlebrook's affidavit that AAAA has not made any sales in Texas nor has it had any agents or employees travel to Texas or represent it in Texas. The company has advertised in a national furniture trade journal and maintains a website advertising its sales management software on the Internet.

On November 7, 1997, Mink filed his original complaint in the United States District...

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