United States District Court, D. Delaware
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
CHRISTOPHER J. BURKE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
before the Court in this patent infringement case is
Defendants Powder Springs Logistics, LLC ("Powder
Springs") and Magellan Midstream Partners, L.P.'s
("Magellan," and collectively with Powder Springs,
"Defendants") motion to dismiss for failure to
state a claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6) (the "Motion"). (D.I. 138) Defendants
argue that the patents asserted by Plaintiff Sunoco Partners
Marketing & Terminals L.P. ("Sunoco" or
"Plaintiff) are directed to patent-ineligible subject
matter pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 101 and that Plaintiffs
allegations of willful infringement fail to meet the
Twombly/Iqbal pleading standard. This Report and
Recommendation will address the Motion as it relates to
Plaintiffs allegations of willful infringement
only. For the reasons that follow, the Court
recommends that the Motion be DENIED.
a patent case arising from Plaintiffs allegations that
Defendants infringe five of Plaintiffs patents. Those patents
are United States Patent Nos. 9, 494, 948 (the '"948
patent"), 9, 606, 548 (the "'548 patent"),
9, 207, 686 (the '"686 patent"), 6, 679, 302
(the '"302 patent"), 7, 032, 629 (the
'"629 patent") (collectively, "the
asserted patents" or "the patents-in-suit").
The patents-in-suit relate to the blending of butane and
gasoline. The Court hereby incorporates the summary of the
technology at issue and of the patents-in-suit that is set
out in its January 8, 2018 Report and Recommendation. (D.I.
68 at 1-8)
October 4, 2017, Plaintiff filed the original Complaint
asserting direct infringement and willful infringement of the
'948 and '548 patents (the "original
patents-in-suit"). (D.I. I)Two days later, Plaintiff
filed a motion for a preliminary injunction, (D.I. 6), which
was later denied, (D.I. 68; D.I. 141).
filed a first motion to dismiss ("first motion to
dismiss") on November 15, 2017, arguing that the
original patents-in-suit claim patent-ineligible subject
matter. (D.I. 27) At that time, Defendants did not argue that
the Complaint's allegations of willful infringement
(regarding infringement of the original patents-in-suit) were
deficient. (Id.) The parties fully briefed that
first motion to dismiss, (D.I. 29; D.I. 45; D.I. 56), and on
December 8, 2017, the Court held oral argument on the first
motion to dismiss and on Plaintiffs motion for a preliminary
August 2, 2018, before the Court had decided Defendants'
first motion to dismiss, the parties stipulated to Plaintiffs
filing of a First Amended Complaint ("FAC"). (D.I.
128; D.I.132) The FAC added allegations of direct
infringement and willful infringement of the '686,
'302, and '629 patents (the "new
patents-in-suit"). (D.I. 132)
September 17, 2018, Defendants filed the instant Motion (also
referred to herein as the "second motion to
dismiss"). (D.I. 138) Four days after Plaintiff filed
its answering brief regarding the second motion to dismiss,
(D.I. 145), the parties stipulated to the filing of a Second
Amended Complaint ("SAC"), (D.I. 148). The parties
also stipulated that "the briefing filed in connection
with such Motions shall apply to Plaintiffs Second Amended
Complaint[.]" (Id. at 1) The SAC (which is
largely similar to the FAC, but includes, inter
alia, some new allegations regarding direct and willful
infringement) was filed thereafter on October 9, 2018 and is
now Plaintiff s operative pleading. (D.I. 149)
on the instant Motion was completed on October 15, 2018.
(D.I. 153) The Court heard oral argument on the Motion on
November 30, 2018. (D.I. 197 (hereinafter, "Tr."))
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Motion to Dismiss Under Rule 12(b)(6)
presented with a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure
to state a claim, a court conducts a two-part analysis.
Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside,578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir.
2009). First, the court separates the factual and legal
elements of a claim, accepting "all of the
complaint's well-pleaded facts as true, but
[disregarding] any legal conclusions." Id. at
210-11. Second, the court determines "whether the facts
alleged in the complaint are sufficient to show that the