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In re Mobile Telecommunications Technologies, LLC

United States District Court, D. Delaware

March 20, 2017

In Re Mobile Telecommunications Technologies, LLC,

          Brian E. Farnan, Michael J. Farnan, FARNAN LLP, Wilmington, DE Daniel R. Scardino, Henning Schmidt, Drew Zerdecki, Kyle Harter, REED & SCARDINO LLP, Austin, TX Counsel for Mobile Telecommunications Technologies, LLC.

          Philip A. Rovner, Jonathan A. Choa, POTTER ANDERSON & CORROON LLP, Wilmington, DE Korula T. Cherian, RUYAKCHERIAN, LLP, Berkeley, CA Ronald Wielkopolski, RUYAKCHERIAN, LLP, Washington, DC Counsel for Ruckus Wireless, Inc.


         STARK, U.S. District Judge:

         Pending before the Court is Ruckus Wireless, Inc's ("Ruckus" or "Defendant")[1] motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, filed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (D.I. 15)[2] ("Motion") For the reasons below, the Court will deny the Motion.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Procedural History

         On January 4, 2016, Plaintiff Mobile Telecommunications Technologies, LLC ("MTel") filed seven suits in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, each alleging infringement of U.S. Patent Nos. 5, 590, 403 ("'403 patent"); 5, 915, 210 ("'210 patent"); and 5, 659, 891 ("'891 patent") (collectively, the "patents-in-suit" or "asserted patents").[3] The seven actions were consolidated into one lead case on April 11, 2016. (C.A. No. 16-692 D.I. 30)

         On April 13, 2016, declaratory judgment plaintiffs ARRIS Group Inc. ("ARRIS") and Ubee Interactive Inc. ("Ubee") (collectively, "DJ Plaintiffs") filed separate actions against MTel in this Court, each seeking declaratory judgment of non-infringement of the patents-in-suit. (C.A. No. 16-259 D.I. 1; C.A. No. 16-260 D.I. 1) On April 19, 2016, BHN filed a similar declaratory judgment action in this Court. (C.A. No. 16-277 D.I. 1)

         On May 3, 2016, MTel filed four additional lawsuits in the Eastern District of Texas against four new defendants, alleging infringement of the same three patents.[4] Three of these cases were consolidated into one lead case on July 21, 2016 (C.A. No. 16-700 D.I. 6), and the fourth was added on July 29, 2016 (id. at D.I. 7).[5]

         DJ Plaintiffs and the Texas Defendants fall into two general categories. Ruckus, ARRIS, Ubee, Juniper, Aerohive, Brocade, HP, Firetide, and Xirrus are Wi-Fi equipment providers. Cox, BHN, Charter, and TWC are cable network operators.

         On August 5, 2016, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ("JPML") determined that centralization of the 14 actions involving MTel was appropriate, and transferred the cases to this Court for coordinated or consolidated pretrial proceedings. (Case No. 16-ind-2722 ("MDL") D.I. 1)

         B. Patents-in-Suit[6]

         The patents-in-suit generally relate to wireless telecommunications. The '403 patent is entitled "Method and System for Efficiently Providing Two Way Communication Between a Central Network and Mobile Unit." The claims of the '403 patent cover methods for wirelessly simulcasting information signals. ('403 patent at 33:11-30, 34:35-62)

         The '210 patent is entitled "Method and System for Providing Multicarrier Simulcast Transmission." The claims of the '210 patent cover systems for wirelessly transmitting information via two sets of carrier signals in simulcast. ('210 patent at 33:47-62, 34:44-64, 36:7-24)

         The '891 patent is entitled "Multicarrier Techniques in Bandlimited Channels" and claims a system and methods for transmitting wireless signals using specific frequency spacing for carriers in a band-limited channel. ('891 patent at 6:4-44)

         C. Defendant's Motion

         Ruckus filed its Motion on September 1, 2016, seeking dismissal of MTel's complaint under two legal theories: (1) failure to mark, pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 287, with respect to the '210 patent; and (2) failure of the patents-in-suit to claim patent-eligible subject matter, under 35 U.S.C. § 101. (D.I. 15; see also D.I. 16) On September 7, 2016, Brocade joined in Ruckus's Motion, incorporating Ruckus's Motion, opening brief, and supporting papers "in their entirety as if set forth herein." (MDL D.I. 13) MTel filed an answering brief in opposition on September 19, 2016, arguing that (1) there is no requirement to mark when there is no product to mark and (2) the patents-in-suit are not directed to patent-ineligible subject matter. (D.I. 21) The parties completed briefing on September 29, 2016. (D.I. 23) On October 11, 2016, Juniper joined in Ruckus's Motion. (MDL D.I. 36) The Court heard oral argument on October 26, 2016. (MDL D.I. 71 (Transcript ("Tr.")))


         A. Motion to Dismiss

         Evaluating a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) requires the Court to accept as true all material allegations of the complaint. See Spruill v. Gittis, 372 F.3d 218, 223 (3d Cir. 2004). "The issue is not whether a plaintiff will ultimately prevail but whether the claimant is entitled to offer evidence to support the claims." In re Burlington Coat Factory Sec. Litig., 114 F, 3d 1410, 1420 (3d Cir. 1997) (internal quotation marks omitted). Thus, the Court may grant such a motion to dismiss only if, after "accepting all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true, and viewing them in the light most favorable to plaintiff, plaintiff is not entitled to relief." Maio v. Aetna, Inc., 221 F.3d 472, 482 (3d Cir. 2000) (internal quotation marks omitted).

         However, "[t]o survive a motion to dismiss, a civil plaintiff must allege facts that 'raise a right to relief above the speculative level on the assumption that the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact).'" Victaulic Co. v. Tieman, 499 F.3d 227, 234 (3d Cir. 2007) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). A claim is facially plausible "when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). At bottom, "[t]he complaint must state enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of [each] necessary element" of a plaintiffs claim. Wilkerson v. New Media Tech. Charter Sch. Inc., 522 F.3d 315, 321 (3d Cir. 2008) (internal quotation marks omitted).

         The Court is not obligated to accept as true "bald assertions, " Morse v. Lower Merion Sch. Dist, 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir. 1997) (internal quotation marks omitted), "unsupported conclusions and unwarranted inferences, " Schuylkill Energy Res., Inc. v. Pennsylvania Power & Light Co., 113 F.3d 405, 417 (3d Cir. 1997), or allegations that are "self-evidently false, " Nami v. Fauver, 82 F.3d 63, 69 (3d Cir. 1996).

         B. ...

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