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AgroFresh Inc. v. Hazel Technologies, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Delaware

April 25, 2019

AGROFRESH INC., Plaintiff,
v.
HAZEL TECHNOLOGIES, INC., Defendant.

          Chad S.C. Stover, Barnes & Thornburg LLP, Wilmington, DE; Robert D. MacGill, Joseph T. Wendt, Jessica M. Lindemann, Barnes & Thornburg LLP, Indianapolis, IN - attorneys for Plaintiff

          Karen E. Keller, David M. Fry, Nathan R. Hoeschen, Shaw Keller LLP, Wilmington, DE; Michael N. Rader, Wolf, Greenfield & Sacks, P.C., New York, NY; Chelsea A. Loughran, Wolf, Greenfield & Sacks, P.C., Boston, MA Lance Yang, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP, Los Angeles, CA - attorneys for Defendant

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          NOREIKA, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Presently before the Court is Defendant Hazel Technologies, Inc's (“Defendant” or “Hazel”) motion to dismiss with prejudice (D.I. 38) the Complaint (D.I. 1) for failure to state a claim on the grounds that Plaintiff AgroFresh, Inc. (“Plaintiff or “AgroFresh”) does not “provide any factual basis stating a plausible claim for infringement and merely parrots the language of the asserted patent claims” (D.I. 39 at 1). For the reasons set forth below, the Court DENIES Defendant's motion.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On September 25, 2018, AgroFresh filed the present action, alleging that Defendant infringed claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 6, 017, 849 (“the '849 Patent”) and 6, 313, 068 (“the '068 Patent”) (collectively, “the Asserted Patents”) through its research, development and sale of a product called Hazel CA.[1] (See D.I. 1). Specifically, the Complaint alleges direct infringement of the Asserted Patents as follows:

27. Hazel, in violation of 35 U.S.C. § 271(a), has directly infringed at least claims 1 and 6 of the Daly 1 Patent, literally and/or under the doctrine of equivalents, by making, using, selling, offering for sale, and/or importing, at a minimum, the Hazel® CA product in the United States.
28. The Hazel® CA product infringes the asserted claims of the Daly 1 Patent because the Hazel® CA product is comprised of a complex formed from a molecular encapsulation agent and a compound, 1-MCP, having the structure shown in claim 1. The Hazel® CA product meets the limitations of claim 6 at least because it is comprised of a complex formed from a molecular encapsulation agent and methylcyclopropene.
* * *
33. Hazel, in violation of 35 U.S.C. § 271(a), has directly infringed at least claim 1 of the Daly 2 Patent, literally and/or under the doctrine of equivalents, by making, using, selling, offering for sale, and/or importing, at a minimum, Hazel® CA in the United States.
34. The Hazel® CA product infringes the asserted claims of the Daly 2 Patent because the Hazel® CA product is comprised of a complex formed from a molecular encapsulation agent and a compound, 1-MCP, having the structure shown in claim 1.

(D.I. 1 ¶¶ 27-28, 33-34).

         II. LEGAL STANDARDS

         In ruling on a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court must accept all well-pleaded factual allegations in the complaint as true and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See Mayer v. Belichick, 605 F.3d 223, 229 (3d Cir. 2010); see also Phillips v. Cnty. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 232-33 (3d Cir. 2008). “[A] court need not ‘accept as true allegations that contradict matters properly subject to judicial notice or by exhibit,' such as the claims and the patent specification.” Secured Mail Sols. LLC v. Universal Wilde, Inc., 873 F.3d 905, 913 (Fed. Cir. 2017) (quoting Anderson v. Kimberly-Clark Corp., 570 Fed.Appx. 927, 931 (Fed. Cir. 2014)). Nor is the Court required to accept as true bald assertions, unsupported conclusions or unwarranted inferences. See TriPlay, Inc. v. WhatsApp Inc., No. 13-1703-LPS-CJB, 2018 WL 1479027, at *3 (D. Del. Mar. 27, 2018). Dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) is only appropriate if a complaint does not 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 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)); see also Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009). This plausibility standard obligates a plaintiff to provide ...


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