Court May Exercise Jurisdiction If Party Delivered Product Into A State’s “Stream Of Commerce”

Video Game Law Blog

July 20, 2005

Biggs, a wildlife photographer in Fort Worth, Texas, sued Bass Pro Outdoor World LLC, Incredible Technologies Inc., and Play Mechanix Inc., for copyright infringement, claiming the defendants had infringed his copyright in images of deer and turkey he had photographed by including them in several software and coin-operated video games, including "Big Buck Hunter,""Big Buck Hunter Shooters' Challenge," and "Big Buck Hunter 2: Sportsmen's Challenge."

Two of the defendant companies asked the court to dimiss the lawsuits.  They claimed the court had no jurisdiction over them because they weren't located in Texas.  The court refused because the first defendant had encouraged sales in Texas, and the second defendant intended to distribute the games as widely as possible, which would have included Texas.  Both defendants ran afoul of the "stream of commerce" theory.

Under the stream of commerce theory, a court may exercise specific jurisdiction when the defendant's link with the forum arises from the sale and manufacture of a product which has caused harm in the forum state, so long as the defendant delivered the product into the stream of commerce, expecting that it should be purchased or used by consumers in the forum state.

Biggs v. Bass Pro Outdoor World LLC
July 20, 2005, Tex. Dist. Ct
[2005] U.S. District LEXIS 14548
Summary by Arsen Krekovic.