United States District Court, D. Delaware
before me is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss. (D.I. 13).
The Parties have fully briefed the issues. (D.I. 14, 21, 22).
For the reasons set out below, I will DENY
is a Canadian corporation in the business of providing
"secure data archiving and storage management software
and solutions." (D.I. 11 at ¶¶ 4, 12). It is
the owner of the seven patents-in-suit. (Id. at
¶¶ 16-22). The asserted patents belong to two
patent families. (Id. at ¶¶ 23-24). Family
1 is directed at Virtual Memory Systems and file lifecycle
management. (D.I. 21 at 2 n.l). Members of Family 1 include
U.S. Pat. Nos. 6, 348, 642 and 7, 392, 234. Family 2 is
directed at Write-Once-Read-Many ("WORM") storage.
(Id.). Members of Family 2 include U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,
654, 864 ("'864 Patent"), 7, 076, 624
('"624 Patent"), 7, 536, 524, 8, 234, 477, and
9, 361, 243.
January 29, 2018, Plaintiff sued NetApp, Inc. and two of
NetApp's customers, Apache Corporation and ON
Semiconductor, LLC, alleging direct and indirect infringement
of the patents-in-suit and that NetApp has willfully
infringed the '864 Patent and the '624 Patent. (D.I.
11 at ¶¶ 44-81). On April 6, 2018, Defendants filed
the present motion in response to Plaintiffs First Amended
reviewing a motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), the Court must accept the
complaint's factual allegations as true. See Bell
Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007). Rule
8(a) requires "a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief."
Id. at 555. The factual allegations do not have to
be detailed, but they must provide more than labels,
conclusions, or a "formulaic recitation" of the
claim elements. Id. ("Factual allegations must
be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative
level... on the assumption that all the allegations in the
complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact).").
Moreover, there must be sufficient factual matter to state a
facially plausible claim to relief. Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). The facial plausibility
standard is satisfied when the complaint's factual
content "allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged." Id. ("Where a complaint pleads
facts that are merely consistent with a defendant's
liability, it stops short of the line between possibility and
plausibility of entitlement to relief." (internal
quotation marks omitted)).
Direct Infringement Claims
alleges each of the Defendants directly infringes each of the
patents-in-suit. The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
has addressed the issue of the sufficiency of a patent
infringement complaint on multiple occasions. It seems
apparent to me that the Court's view generally is that
very little is required to plead a claim of patent
infringement. For example, in Disc Disease Solutions Inc.
v. VGH Solutions, Inc., 888 F.3d 1256 (Fed. Cir. 2018),
the Court reversed a district court dismissal of a patent
infringement complaint. In relevant part, the Court of
The district court determined that Disc Disease failed to
"explain how Defendants' products infringe on any of
Plaintiff s claims" because it "merely alleges that
certain of Defendants' products 'meet each and every
element of at least one claim' of Plaintiff s
patents." We disagree. Disc Disease's allegations
are sufficient under the plausibility standard of
Iqbal/Twombly. This case involves a simple
technology. The asserted patents, which were attached to the
complaint, consist of only four independent claims. The
complaint specifically identified the three accused
products-by name and by attaching photos of the product
packaging as exhibits-and alleged that the accused products
meet "each and every element of at least one claim of
the' 113 [or '509] Patent, either literally or
equivalently." These disclosures and allegations are
enough to provide VGH Solutions fair notice of infringement
of the asserted patents. The district court, therefore, erred
in dismissing Disc Disease's complaint for failure to
state a claim.
Disc Disease, 888 F.3d at 1260 (alteration in
original) (citations omitted).
case, the First Amended Complaint alleges that
specifically-named products infringe claims of each of the
seven patents, copies of which Plaintiff attached to the
First Amended Complaint. The allegations are substantially
identical, mirroring this format:
On information and belief, [Defendants], without
authorization or license from KOM, have been and are
presently directly infringing at least [a claim] of [the
Patent], as infringement is defined by 35 U.S.C. §
271(a), including through making, using (including for
testing purposes), selling and offering for sale methods and
articles infringing one or more claims of [the Patent].
[Defendants] are thus liable for direct infringement of [the