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ReefEdge Networks, LLC v. Juniper Networks, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Delaware

March 21, 2014

REEFEDGE NETWORKS, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
JUNIPER NETWORKS, INC., Defendant

Brian E. Farnan, Michael J. Farnan, FARNAN LLP, Wilmington, DE; Marc A. Fenster, Alexander C. Giza, Andrew D. Weiss, RUSS AUGUST & KABAT, Los Angeles, CA, Attorneys for Plaintiff.

Jack B. Blumenfeld, Michael J. Flynn, MORRIS, NICHOLS, ARSHT & TUNNELL LLP, Wilmington, DE; Morgan Chu, Jonathan S. Kagan, IRELL & MANELLA LLP, Los Angeles, CA; Douglas J. Dixon, Timothy J. Heggem, Nima Hefazi, IRELL & MANELLA LLP, Newport Beach, CA, Attorneys for Defendant.

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MEMORANDUM OPINION

STARK, U.S. District Judge.

Presently before the Court is Defendant Juniper Networks, Inc.'s (" Juniper" ) Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff ReefEdge Networks, LLC's (" ReefEdge" ) Claims for Willful Infringement and Amended Claims for Indirect Infringement. (D.I. 16) The Court held oral argument on the motion on

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December 18, 2013. (D.I. 66) (" Tr." ) For the reasons stated below, the Court will grant the motion.

I. BACKGROUND

On March 13, 2013, ReefEdge Networks, LLC (" ReefEdge" ) filed its original Complaint against Juniper, asserting claims for direct and indirect infringement of U.S. Patents Nos. 6,633,761 (the " '761 patent" ), 6,975,864 (the " '864 patent" ), and 7,197,308 (the " '308 patent" ). (D.I. 1) On May 3, Juniper moved to dismiss ReefEdge's claims for indirect and joint infringement. (D.I. 9) On May 20, ReefEdge responded to Juniper's motion to dismiss by filing its First Amended Complaint (" FAC" ). (D.I. 12) Although the FAC dropped ReefEdge's contributory and joint infringement claims, it reasserted ReefEdge's inducement allegations. ( Id. at ¶ ¶ 15, 22, 29) The FAC also added claims for willful infringement. ( Id. at ¶ ¶ 16, 23, 30)[1] Juniper now moves to dismiss ReefEdge's claims for willful infringement and amended claims for induced infringement. (D.I. 16)

In the FAC, ReefEdge alleges that Juniper had pre-suit knowledge of the patents-in-suit because Juniper's Deputy General Counsel and Vice President, Intellectual Property, Meredith McKenzie, had knowledge of the patents-in-suit. (D.I. 12 at ¶ 10) According to ReefEdge, Ms. McKenzie is responsible for managing all aspects of intellectual property at Juniper, including licensing, patents, and litigation. ( Id. ) The FAC alleges that, prior to joining Juniper, Ms. McKenzie was Senior Director, Intellectual Property at Symantec Corporation (" Symantec" ). ( Id. at ¶ 9) According to ReefEdge, while she worked for Symantec, Ms. McKenzie marketed the patents-in-suit to ReefEdge in a process that ultimately led to ReefEdge's acquisition of the patents-in-suit from Symantec. ( Id. ) Additionally, ReefEdge alleges that after Ms. McKenzie joined Juniper, representatives of ReefEdge made several attempts to meet with Juniper regarding licensing the patents-in-suit. ( Id. at ¶ 16) Based on these allegations, ReefEdge argues that Juniper willfully infringed the patents-in-suit because Ms. McKenzie's knowledge of the patents-in-suit may be imputed to Juniper. (D.I. 20 at 1) ReefEdge also alleges that Juniper induces infringement of the patents-in-suit by advertising and providing technical support services for its allegedly infringing products. (D.I. 12 at ¶ ¶ 15, 22, 29)

II. LEGAL STANDARDS

Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), a complaint must contain a " short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Even though a plaintiff need not allege detailed factual information, in order to survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), " a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009). A claim is facially plausible when the factual allegations allow the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. See id. at 663. At the motion to dismiss stage, the court " must accept as true the factual allegations in the complaint and all reasonable inferences that can be drawn therefrom." Nami v. Fauver, 82 F.3d 63, 65 (3d Cir. 1996). However, the court " need not accept as true threadbare recitals of a cause of action's elements, supported

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by mere conclusory statements." Iqbal, 556 U.S. ...


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