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LoganTree LP v. Omron Healthcare, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Delaware

September 19, 2019


          Gregory E. Stuhlman, Stephanie H. Dallaire, Chipman Brown Cicero & Cole, LLP, Wilmington, DE; Arnold Shokouhi, Christopher M. Barkley, James E. Sherry, McCathern, PLLC, Dallas – Attorneys for Plaintiff.

          Adam W. Poff, Robert M. Vrana, Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP, Wilmington, DE; Matthew B. Lowrie, Lucas I. Silva, Foley & Lardner LLP, Boston, MA – Attorneys for Defendant



         Before the Court is Defendant Omron Healthcare, Inc.’s (“Defendant” or “Omron”) “Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss, or In the Alternative, Motion to Stay, or In the Alternative, 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) Motion for Transfer to the Northern District of Illinois.” (D.I. 9). Plaintiff LoganTree LP (“Plaintiff or “LoganTree”) opposes Omron’s motion. (D.I. 13). For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants-in-part and denies-in-part Omron’s motion.[1]

         I. BACKGROUND

         On October 18, 2019, LoganTree filed the present action, accusing Omron’s wearable accelerometer-based activity trackers of infringing various claims of U.S. Patent No. 6,059,576 (“the ’576 Patent”).[2] (D.I. 1 ¶¶ 1, 17-26). The ’576 Patent, entitled “Training and Safety Device, System and Method to Aid in Proper Movement During Physical Activity,” issued on May 9, 2000, with three independent claims and twenty-six dependent claims. (Id. ¶¶ 7, 11). In March of 2015, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) issued a reexamination certificate for the ’576 Patent, bearing U.S. Patent No. 6,059,576 C1.[3] (Id. ¶ 8). Through reexamination, the three independent claims, claims 1, 13, and 20, were amended and an additional 156 dependent claims were issued, “for a total of 185 patented claims.” (Id. ¶ 11). The ’576 Patent expired on November 21, 2017. See ’576 Patent.

         Relevant to Omron’s motion to transfer, LoganTree is a Nevada partnership. (Id. ¶ 2). Its sole general partner is Gulfstream Ventures, LLC, a Nevada limited liability company, which is owned and managed by Theodore[4] and Anne Brann of Boerne, Texas. (Id.). Omron is a Delaware corporation with a principal place of business in Illinois. (Id. ¶ 3).


         A. Motion to Dismiss Under Rule 12(b)(6)

         In ruling on a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 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. Cty. 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 “more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of elements of a cause of action.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Instead, the pleadings must provide sufficient factual allegations to allow the Court to “draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 506 U.S. at 678.

         B. Motion to Transfer Pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 1404(a)

         District courts have the authority to transfer venue “[f]or the convenience of parties and witnesses, in the interests of justice, . . . to any other district or division where it might have been brought.” 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). However, “[a] plaintiff, as the injured party, generally ha[s] been ‘accorded [the] privilege of bringing an action where he chooses,” Helicos Biosciences Corp. v. Illumina, Inc., 858 F.Supp.2d 367, 371 (D. Del. 2012) (quoting Norwood v. Kirkpatrick, 349 U.S. 29, 31 (1955)), and this choice “should not be lightly disturbed,” Jumara v. State Farm Ins. Co., 55 F.3d 873, 879 (3d Cir. 1995).

         The Third Circuit has recognized that:

[i]n ruling on § 1404(a) motions, courts have not limited their consideration to the three enumerated factors in § 1404(a) (convenience of parties, convenience of witnesses, or interests of justice), and, indeed, commentators have called on the courts to “consider all relevant factors to determine whether on balance the litigation would more conveniently proceed and the interests of justice be better served by transfer to a different forum.”

Jumara, 55 F.3d at 879 (citation omitted). The Jumara court went on to describe twelve (12) “private and public interests protected by the language of § 1404(a).” Id. The private interests include:

plaintiff’s forum preference as manifested in the original choice; the defendant’s preference; whether the claim arose elsewhere; the convenience of the parties as indicated by their relative physical and financial condition; the convenience of the witnesses – but only to the extent that the witnesses may actually be unavailable for trial in one of the fora; and the location of books and records (similarly limited to the extent that the files could not be produced in the alternative forum).

Id. at 879 (citations omitted). The public interests include:

the enforceability of the judgment; practical considerations that could make the trial easy, expeditious, or inexpensive; the relative administrative difficulty in the two fora resulting from court congestion; the local interest in deciding local controversies at home; the public policies of the fora; and the familiarity of the trial judge with the applicable state law in diversity cases.

Id. at 879-80.

         The party seeking transfer bears the burden “to establish that a balancing of proper interests weigh[s] in favor of transfer.” Shutte v. Armco Steel Corp., 431 F.2d 22, 25 (3d Cir. 1970). Moreover, though courts have “broad discretion to determine, on an individualized, case-by-case basis, whether convenience and fairness considerations weigh in favor of transfer,” Jumara, 55 F.3d at 883, the Third Circuit has held that “unless the balance of convenience of the parties is strongly in favor of [the] defendant, the plaintiff’s choice of forum should prevail.” Shutte, 431 F.2d at 25.


         Omron argues that the Court should dismiss LoganTree’s Complaint because LoganTree fails to plausibly allege that the Accused Products infringe the ’576 Patent. (D.I. 10 at 2). In the alternative, Omron asks the Court to transfer this case to the Northern District of Illinois. (Id. at 2-3). As discussed below, the Court will grant-in-part and deny-in-part Omron’s motion to dismiss and will deny Omron’s motion to transfer.

         A. Omron’s ...

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