In this patent infringement action, Apple filed a motion to dismiss Maxell’s induced infringement claims. In the motion, Apple asserted that the complaint did not plausibly allege Apple had “specific intent” to induce infringement, arguing that the complaint only cited broadly to Apple’s website and user manuals, without alleging how the instructions directed Apple’s customers to use the accused products in an infringing manner.
The district court stated that Apple incorrectly asserted that the complaint includes “nothing more than citations to Apple’s user guides and websites . . . .” To the contrary, the district court found that Maxell alleged significantly more. “The complaint sets out detailed allegations of direct infringement, identifying the accused functionalities and accused devices for each patent. The complaint further includes screen-shots and descriptions of Apple’s online user manuals and advertisements, which the complaint alleges contain ‘descriptions and demonstrations’ of the accused functionalities. Some of the pictured webpages appear to contain directions for customers to use the accused functionalities. … The complaint further alleges that Apple’s customers directly infringe the patents by using the accused products in accordance with Apple’s instructions and that Apple provides customers instructions on how to infringe the patents with its user manuals and websites.”
Based on these allegations, the district court concluded that “[t]he preceding discussion identifying the accused functionalities and the screenshots of advertisements and instructions on Apple’s website, coupled with this allegation, are more than enough to give rise to a reasonable inference that Apple intended to induce infringement. See Uniloc, 2016 WL 7042236, at *4 (finding allegations that the defendant’s customers directly infringe the patents-in-suit and that the defendant provided step-by-step instructions for customers on how to infringe adequately pleaded specific intent).”
As a result, the district court denied the motion to dismiss.
Maxell LTD. v. Apple Inc., Case No. 5:19-CV-00036-RWS (E.D. Tex. Oct. 23, 2019)
The authors of www.PatentLawyerBlog.com are patent trial lawyers at Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP. For more information about this case, contact Stan Gibson at 310.201.3548 or SGibson@jmbm.com.