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Super Interconnect Technologies LLC v. Sony Corp.

United States District Court, D. Delaware

September 26, 2019


          Brian Farnan, FARNAN LLP, Wilmington, Delaware; Michael Farnan, FARNAN LLP, Wilmington, Delaware; Jeffrey Bragalone, BRAGALONE CONROY P.C., Dallas, Texas; Johnathan Rastegar, BRAGALONE CONROY P.C., Dallas, Texas; T. William Kennedy, Jr., BRAGALONE CONROY P.C., Dallas, Texas Counsel for Plaintiff.

          Rodger Dallery Smith, II, MORRIS, NICHOS, ARSHT, & TUNNELL LLP, Wilmington, Delaware; Lewis V. Popovski, PATTERSON BELKNAP WEBB & TYLER LLP, New York, New York Counsel for Defendant.



         Super Interconnect Technologies LLC ("SIT") has filed a three-count complaint against Sony Corporation, Sony Mobile Communications AB, and Sony Mobile Communications (USA) Inc. (collectively "Sony") for patent infringement. D.I. 1. Pending before me is Sony's Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). D.I. 11. For the reasons discussed below, I will deny Sony's motion.

         I. BACKGROUND

         SIT alleges in its complaint that, "by, among other things, making, having made, using, offering for sale, selling, and/or importing electronic devices with Universal Flash Storage (UFS) that incorporate [claimed] fundamental technologies, " Sony "has and continues to directly and/or indirectly infringe (by inducing infringement) one or more claims of three patents: U.S. Patent Nos. 7, 627, 044 (the "# 044 patent"); 6, 463, 092 (the "#092 patent"); and 7, 158, 593 (the "#593 patent"). D.I. 1, ¶¶ 15, 30, 45. SIT alleges in particular that Sony's Xperia XZ smartphone directly infringes claim 1 of the #044 patent, claim 1 of the #092 patent, and claim 34 of the #593 patent. D.I. 1, ¶¶ 16, 31, 46. Sony seeks to dismiss the complaint in its entirety. D.I. 11 at 1.


         A. Legal Standards for Stating A Claim

         To state a claim upon which relief can be granted, a complaint must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Detailed factual allegations are not required, but the complaint must include more than mere "labels and conclusions" or "a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). The complaint must set forth enough facts, accepted as true, to "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id . at 570. A claim is facially plausible "when the ... factual content... allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Deciding whether a claim is plausible is a "context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Id . at 679.

         B. Legal Standards for Pleading Direct Infringement

         Liability for direct infringement arises when a party "without authority makes, uses, offers to sell, or sells any patented invention, within the United States or imports into the United States any patented invention during the term of the patent." 35 U.S.C. § 271(a). To plead direct infringement, a plaintiff must allege facts "that plausibly indicate that the accused products contain each of the limitations found in the claim." TMI Sols. LLC v. Bath & Body Works Direct, Inc., 2018 WL 4660370, at *9 (D. Del. Sept. 28, 2018). A plaintiff, however, "need not prove its case at the pleading stage." Nalco Co. v. Chem-Mod, LLC, 883 F.3d 1337, 1350 (Fed. Cir. 2018) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). The complaint need only "place the potential infringer on notice of what activity is being accused of infringement." Id . at 1350 (internal quotation marks, alterations, and citation omitted).

         In Disc Disease Solutions Inc. v. VGH Solutions, Inc., 888F.3d 1256, 1260 (Fed. Cir. 2018), the Federal Circuit provided further guidance on pleading infringement when a case "involves a simple technology." The Court held in Disc Disease that in such a case, a complaint is "sufficient under the plausibility standard of Iqbal/Twombly" if it (1) names products accused of infringing the asserted patents, (2) includes photographs of the packaging of the accused products, and (3) alleges that the accused products meet every element of at least one claim of the asserted patents. Id . The Court reasoned that "[t]hese disclosures and allegations are enough to provide [a defendant] fair notice of infringement of the asserted patents." Id .


         Each of the complaint's three counts alleges infringement of a different asserted patent. D.I. 1 at 3, 8, 12. Each count identifies as an "example" of accused products Sony's Xperia XZ smartphone. Id . ¶¶ 15, 30, 45. And each count includes (1) an image of the Xperia XZ, id. ¶¶ 17, 32, 47; (2) an image of a Sony website showing that the Xperia XZ incorporates Universal Flash Storage ("UFS") technology, id. ¶¶ 18, 33, 48; and (3) two images from a third-party White Paper showing that UFS technology uses the MIPIM-PHY protocol, an industry technical standard, id. ¶¶ 19, 34, 49. In paragraphs that follow the images, each count describes ...

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