Inducing Infringement Claims Dismissed Where Plaintiff Failed to Allege Intentional Inducement

October 12, 2011

Plaintiff sued defendant for patent infringement for direct and indirect infringement for the commercial sale and/or use of the defendant's asset tracking solutions product. Defendant moved to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) on the ground that plaintiff failed to identify an infringing instrumentality and also failed to allege facts of indirect infringement.

Defendant's first argument, that plaintiff failed to identify the instrumentality accused of infringement, was disregarded by the district court. The district court found that plaintiff had identified the accused instrumentality by naming the Asset Tracking Solutions product. The defendant's argument that it did not sell or make such a product was a factual dispute that could not be resolved on a motion to dismiss. The district court also found that plaintiff's allegations complied with Form 18 and therefore this part of the motion of the motion to dismiss was denied.

With respect to the allegations of indirect infringement, defendant contended that plaintiff had not alleged facts that established the elements of an indirect infringement claim. The district court noted that to establish a claim for inducing infringement, the plaintiff must allege that defendant's inducement was intentional. In addition, the district court noted that a claim for contributory infringement requires that a plaintiff should at a minimum allege that the defendant's products are especially designed to be used by others to infringe and that those products lack substantial noninfringing uses. Plaintiff did not allege either.

Accordingly, the district court dismissed the complaint without prejudice but permitted plaintiff to amend as plaintiff stated it could amend to allege the facts necessary to meet these claims.

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The district court's opinion highlights the success that motions to dismiss can have where the plaintiff has not plead sufficient facts. This is an important tool as it is useful to eliminate these types of claims at the early stages of the litigation.

Arrival Star, S.A. v. Intermec Technologies Corporation, Case No. 11-21371-CIV-ALTONAGA (S.D. Fla. Sept. 26, 2011)

The authors of www.PatentLawyerBlog.com are patent trial lawyers at Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP. We represent inventors, patent owners and technology companies in patent licensing and litigation. Whether pursuing patent violations or defending infringement claims, we are aggressive and effective advocates for our clients. For more information contact Stan Gibson at 310.201.3548 or SGibson@jmbm.com.