Continuing our theme, another subject that often comes up in defending NPE complaints is whether the NPE's often-lackluster complaint may be vulnerable to an FRCP 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss (and whether that motion can be brought economically).
Judge Connolly today dismissed a complaint by Swirlate IP, an (alleged) IP Edge entity, because the complaint mostly parroted the language of the claims and offered an unspecific website URL.
Here is an example of a typical paragraph from the complaint, which mirrors the claim language but also offers slightly more:
21. Upon information and belief, the Accused Instrumentality performs the step of performing the second transmission by transmitting the second data symbols over a …
As we mentioned in our last post, Judge Bibas of the Third Circuit has taken two D. Del. patent cases by designation, along with a number of other cases.
I've seen a number of his opinions in other cases come through over the course of the year. They are easy to identify, as his writing style differs from any other judge we've had, in a way that is interesting to see.
One particularly notable opinion of his issued back in March, and apparently slipped our notice at the time. In it, he denies an FRCP 12(b)(6) motion, holding that a defendant's own patents can serve as circumstantial evidence that its products practice the claims, if those patents describe an infringing configuration. ...
It's fairly common for plaintiffs in Delaware to plead infringement by alleging that the defendant infringes "at least claim x," of the relevant patent—leaving the question of what other claims might be asserted until later in the case.
In line with the Federal Circuit decision in Disc Disease Sols. Inc. v. VGH Sols., Inc., 888 F.3d 1256, 1260 (Fed. Cir. 2018), many of our Delaware judges have explicitly endorsed this practice. See, e.g. Promos Techs., Inc. v. Samsung Elecs. Co., Civil Action No. 18-307-RGA, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 186276, at *6 (D. Del. Oct. 31, 2018) ("Plaintiff does provide details of at least one claim allegedly infringed under each asserted patent. Therefore, Plaintiff's identification of infringed …
In competitor cases, parties sometimes include Lanham Act claims alongside patent claims. That's what happened in Peloton Interactive, Inc. v. Icon Health & Fitness, Inc., C.A. No. 20-662-RGA (D. Del.), where both sides brought patent and Lanham Act claims or counterclaims.
Peloton moved to dismiss defendant Icon's Lanham Act counterclaims, which alleged that Peloton had made various false and misleading statements concerning things like whether the Peloton bike was the "first of its kind" and unique among its market, along with statements about Peloton music offerings.
Peloton argued that Lanham Act claims are subject to a higher pleading standard, relying on an old E.D. Pa. case from long before the Supreme Court's decisions on this issue in Twombly / Iqbal:
Peloton urges the Court to apply an “intermediate” standard that first appeared in Max Daetwyler Corp. v. Input Graphics Inc, 608 F. Supp. 1549, 1556 (E.D. Pa. 1985). The Court held, “[i]n litigation in which one party is charged with making false statements, it is important that the party charged be provided with sufficiently detailed allegations regarding the nature of the alleged falsehoods to allow him to make a proper defense.” . . . ICON argues that the standard articulated in Max Daetwyler is inappropriate because it was decided before Twombly and Iqbal. . . . Additionally, there is disagreement within district courts in the Third Circuit as to its applicability. . . .
Judge Andrews declined to apply the heightened standard, quoting
This week, Chief Judge Stark ruled on a motion to dismiss a FRAND-related antitrust claim brought by Lenovo against InterDigital relating to 3G/4G phone standards.
According to the Court, InterDigital contracted with the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) to license its patents at FRAND rates, and its patents were incorporated into the 3G/4G standards. The ETSI requires patentees to license their patents at FRAND rates to avoid anti-trust concerns.
Lenovo's antitrust claims allege that InterDigital, by demanding higher-than-FRAND rates, has obtained an unlawful monopoly power over the 3G/4G standards. Lenovo also alleges that InterDigital defrauded ETSI during the standards development process:
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