United States District Court, D. Delaware
before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss
Plaintiffs Claims of Willful Infringement, Indirect
Infringement, and Direct Infringement in Its Amended
Complaint (D.I. 26). The issues have been fully briefed.
(D.I. 27, 33, 38). For the reasons stated herein,
Defendants' motion is GRANTED-IN-PART.
February 14, 2017, Plaintiff BlackBerry Limited filed this
patent infringement action against Defendants Nokia
Corporation, Nokia Solutions and Networks Oy ("NSN
Oy"), Nokia Solutions and Network Holdings USA, Inc.
("NSN Holdings USA"), and Nokia Solutions and
Networks U.S. LLC ("NSN US"). (D.I. 1). Nokia
Corporation and NSN Oy are Finnish companies, each having its
principal place of business in Finland. (D.I. 21,
¶¶ 9-10). NSN Holdings USA and NSN U.S. are
entities organized under the laws of Delaware, each having
its principal place of business in Texas. (Id.
¶¶ 11-12). NSN Oy and NSN Holdings USA are
wholly-owned subsidiaries of Nokia Solutions and Networks
B.V., which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nokia Finance
International B.V., which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of
Nokia Corporation. (Id. ¶¶ 10-11). NSN
U.S. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of NSN Holdings USA.
(Id. ¶ 12).
filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiffs complaint on June 5,
2017. (D.I. 14). Plaintiff filed an amended complaint on June
26, 2017. (D.I. 21). Plaintiffs amended complaint accuses all
four Nokia Defendants (collectively referred to as
"Nokia" throughout the amended complaint) of
infringing U.S. Patent Nos. 6, 996, 418 ("the '418
patent"); 8, 254, 246 ("the '246 patent");
8, 494, 090 ("the '090 patent"); 7, 529, 305
("the '305 patent"); 8, 861, 433 ("the
'433 patent"); 9, 426, 697 ("the '697
patent"); 9, 253, 772 ("the '772 patent");
8, 897, 192 ("the '192 patent"); 9, 125, 202
("the '202 patent"); 8, 243, 683 ("the
'683 patent"); and 8, 644, 829 ("the '829
patent") owned by Plaintiff. (D.I. 21, ¶ 6).
Plaintiff asserts claims of direct infringement, indirect
infringement, and willful infringement against Nokia.
(E.g., Id. ¶¶ 116-120, 125).
requires a complainant to provide "a short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief" Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Rule 12(b)(6) allows
the accused party to bring a motion to dismiss the claim for
failing to meet this standard. A Rule 12(b)(6) motion may be
granted only if, accepting the well-pleaded allegations in
the complaint as true and viewing them in the light most
favorable to the complainant, a court concludes that those
allegations "could not raise a claim of entitlement to
relief." Bell Ail. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 558 (2007).
'detailed factual allegations' are not required, a
complaint must do more than simply provide 'labels and
conclusions' or 'a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action.'" Davis v.
Abington Mem'l Hosp., 765 F.3d 236, 241 (3d Cir.
2014) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). I am
"not required to credit bald assertions or legal
conclusions improperly alleged in the complaint." In
re Rockefeller Ctr. Props., Inc. Sec. Litig., 311 F.3d
198, 216 (3d Cir. 2002). A complaint may not be dismissed,
however, "for imperfect statement of the legal theory
supporting the claim asserted." See Johnson v. City
of Shelby, 135 S.Ct. 346, 346 (2014).
plaintiff must plead facts sufficient to show that a claim
has "substantive plausibility." Id. at
347. That plausibility must be found on the face of the
complaint. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009). "A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged." Id. Deciding
whether a claim is plausible will "be a context-specific
task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its
judicial experience and common sense." Id. at
parties dispute whether Plaintiffs standards-based
infringement pleading alleges sufficient facts to connect the
accused products to the asserted claims. (D.I. 27, pp. 17-20;
D.I. 33, pp. 18-20). I conclude that the amended
complaint's infringement pleadings are adequate in this
also assert that Plaintiff has not pled sufficient facts to
support a direct infringement claim against any single
Defendant. (D.I. 27, p. 16). Since the amended complaint
combines infringement allegations against all four
Defendants, referring to them collectively as "Nokia,
" Defendants maintain that the amended complaint
"does not provide adequate notice as to each
Defendant's role in allegedly infringing the
patents-in-suit." (Id. p. 16). Plaintiff
responds that it has adequately charged each Defendant with
conduct sufficient to support a direct infringement claim.
(D.I. 33, pp. 16-17 (citing D.I. 21, ¶¶ 10-13,
induced infringement claims and portions of the amended
complaint incorporated by reference in Plaintiffs direct
infringement claims allege direct infringement by NSN U.S.
and NSN Oy. (See, e.g., D.I. 21, ¶¶ 67,
123, 144). I find plausible Plaintiffs claim that NSN U.S.
directly infringes. Plaintiff has alleged no facts, however,
to support its claim that NSN Oy, a Finnish company, makes,
uses, sells, or offers to sell the accused products in the
United States. Plaintiffs unsupported allegation that,
"[o]n information and belief, NSN Oy ... oversees the
Nokia Networks business unit, " does not provide a
sufficient factual basis to support a plausible direct
infringement claim against NSN Oy, regardless of the
activities of the Nokia Networks business unit. (See
Id. ¶ 10).
amended complaint otherwise alleges direct infringement of
each asserted patent by Nokia. (E.g., Id.
¶¶ 116, 133). Plaintiffs direct infringement claims
against NSN Holdings USA and Nokia Corporation appear to be
based entirely on these entities' relationships to NSN
US. (See Id. ¶¶ 9, 11, 13). "[T]o
state a claim based on an alleged parent-subsidiary
relationship, a plaintiff would have to allege (1) the
existence of a parent-subsidiary relationship, and 2) facts
that justify piercing the corporate veil." M2M
Solutions LLC v. Telit Commc'ns PLC, 2015 WL
4640400, at *3 (D. Del. Aug. 5, 2015) (citation omitted). The
second condition may be satisfied by the "existence of
an agency relationship between the entities where the parent
effectively controls the conduct of the subsidiary."