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Wildcat Licensing WI LLC v. Faurecia S.A.

United States District Court, D. Delaware

December 23, 2019

WILDCAT LICENSING WI LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
FAURECIA S.A., FAURECIA USA HOLDINGS, INC., FAURECIA INTERIOR SYSTEMS, INC., FAURECIA AUTOMOTIVE SEATING, LLC, FAURECIA MADISON AUTOMOTIVE SEATING, INC., FAURECIA EMISSIONS CONTROL TECHNOLOGIES, USA, LLC, FAURECIA EMISSIONS CONTROL SYSTEMS NA, LLC, and FAURECIA AUTOMOTIVE HOLDINGS, INC., Defendants. WILDCAT LICENSING WI LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
MAGNA INTERNATIONAL INC., MAGNA INTERNATIONAL OF AMERICA, INC., MAGNA POWERTRAIN INC., MAGNA POWERTRAIN OF AMERICA, INC., MAGNA POWERTRAIN USA, INC., MAGNA SEATING OF AMERICA, INC., MAGNA EXTERIORS OF AMERICA, INC., MAGNA CLOSURES OF AMERICA, INC, and COSMA INTERNATIONAL INC., Defendants.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          JENNIFER L. HALL UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         As announced at the hearing on December 19, 2019:

         1. I recommend GRANTING-IN-PART and DENYING-IN-PART Magna Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint (C. A. No. 19-846, D.I. 15):

a. I recommend DENYING Magna Defendants' motion to dismiss on the basis that the patents-in-suit are invalid as directed to unpatentable subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101;
b. I recommend DENYING Magna Defendants' motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a plausible direct infringement claim; and
c. I recommend GRANTING Magna Defendants' motion to dismiss the indirect infringement claims under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) without prejudice to amend within 21 days.

         2. I recommend GRANTING-IN-PART and DENYING-IN-PART Faurecia Defendants' Motion to Dismiss and to Strike Portions of the Complaint, or, Alternatively, For a More Definite Statement (C. A. No. 19-839, D.I. 16):

a. I recommend DENYING Faurecia Defendants' motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a plausible direct infringement claim;
b. I recommend GRANTING Faurecia Defendants' motion to dismiss the indirect infringement claims under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) without prejudice to amend within 21 days;
c. I recommend DENYING Faurecia Defendants' motion to strike the willfulness allegations under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f); and
d. I recommend DENYING Faurecia Defendants' motion for a more definite statement under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(e).

         Plaintiff Wildcat Licensing WI LLC (“Plaintiff” or “Wildcat”) filed nine patent infringement suits asserting U.S. Patent No. RE47, 220 (“the '220 patent”) and U.S. Patent No. RE47, 232 (“the '232 patent”) against defendants involved in manufacturing automobiles and automobile component parts. (C.A. Nos. 19-833, -834, -839, -840, -842, -843, -844, -845, -846.) The defendants in two cases moved to dismiss Wildcat's respective complaints against them. Magna International Inc., Magna International of America, Inc., Magna Powertrain Inc., Magna Powertrain of America, Inc., Magna Powertrain USA, Inc., Magna Seating of America, Inc., Magna Exteriors of America, Inc., Magna Closures of America, Inc., and Cosma International Inc. (collectively, “Magna Defendants” or “Magna”) moved to dismiss the operative complaint for failure to state claims of direct and indirect infringement and on the basis that the patents-in-suit are invalid as claiming ineligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101. (C. A. No. 19-846, D.I. 15.)

         Faurecia USA Holdings, Inc., Faurecia Interior Systems, Inc., Faurecia Automotive Seating, LLC, Faurecia Madison Automotive Seating, Inc., Faurecia Emissions Control Technologies, USA, LLC, Faurecia Emissions Control Systems NA, LLC, and Faurecia Automotive Holdings, Inc. (collectively, “Faurecia Defendants” or “Faurecia”[1]) moved to dismiss the operative complaint for failure to state claims of direct and indirect infringement. (C. A. No. 19-839, D.I. 16.) Faurecia Defendants also moved under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f) to strike Plaintiff's allegations of willful infringement and request for enhanced damages. In the alternative, Faurecia Defendants moved under Rule 12(e) for a more definite statement. The motions were fully briefed as of August 15, 2019, [2] and October 18, 2019.[3]

         The Court referred the cases, including the pending motions, to me. (C. A. No. 19-839, D.I. 24; C. A. No. 19-846, D.I. 18.) I then received further submissions in the Magna case regarding which Supreme Court or Federal Circuit case each side contends is most analogous to the claims at issue as related to the 35 U.S.C. § 101 arguments. (C. A. No. 19-846, D.I. 40, 41.) I carefully reviewed all submissions in connection with Defendants' motions, heard oral argument, [4] and applied the following legal standards in reaching my recommendation:

         I. LEGAL STANDARDS [5]

         A. Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim

         A defendant may move to dismiss a complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim. “To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must 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)). A claim is plausible on its face when the complaint contains “factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). A possibility of relief is not enough. 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.'” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).

         In determining the sufficiency of the complaint under the plausibility standard, all “well-pleaded facts” are assumed to be true, but legal conclusions are not. Id. at 679. “[W]hen the allegations in a complaint, however true, could not raise a claim of entitlement to relief, this basic deficiency should be exposed at the point of minimum expenditure of time and money by the parties and the court.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 558 (internal marks omitted).

         B. ...


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