The Mississippi Court of Appeals recently ruled that a Mississippi trial court had personal jurisdiction over a non-resident defendant who entered into a non-disclosure agreement with a Mississippi company. Cirlot v. Sunny Delight Beverages Company, 2012 WL 1085867 (Miss. Ct. App. Apr. 3, 2012). While the decision has broad implications, they are more evolutionary than radical. As Mississippi (and the nation at large) increases its knowledge-based industry (rather than traditional manufacturing), courts are recognizing that creating intellectual property is akin to creating traditional hard goods.
The decision by the Mississippi Court of Appeals appears to be the first instance in which a Mississippi court has explicitly stated that intellectual property is a good or service that allows jurisdiction to be exercised based on a non-disclosure agreement. As Mississippi continues to develop a knowledge based economy it was important for the court to recognize the basic importance of intellectual property and to allow Mississippi citizens and residents to enforce their intellectual property rights in Mississippi courts.
– Paul Ellis