Richards Layton & Finger
 

Judge Sleet Grants and Denies in Part Defendant's Motion to Dismiss

December 15, 2016

In Koninklijke Philips N.V. et al. v. ASUSTeK Computer Inc. et al., C.A. No. 15-1126-GMS (D. Del. Oct. 25, 2016), Judge Sleet denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim of direct infringement and granted the motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim with respect to the plaintiffs’ contributory infringement claims.

The defendants argued that the amended complaint failed to meet the Twombly/Iqbal pleading standard for direct infringement because the plaintiffs used examples of the allegedly infringed claims instead of an exhaustive list, leaving open the possibility claims could be added later in the case. Noting that the Court must apply the Twombly/Iqbal pleading standard because Form 18 has been eliminated, Judge Sleet found that the amended complaint sufficiently pled direct infringement because it provided specific details of at least one claim allegedly infringed under each patent-in-suit, specific examples of at least one product performing the identified functions, and specific examples of the class of products that also contain the accused functionalities.

Although the amended complaint sufficiently alleged claims of direct infringement, Judge Sleet held that the amended complaint failed to adequately allege claims of contributory infringement. The Court found that the amended complaint did not recite facts supporting an inference that the accused functionalities had no substantial noninfringing use. Judge Sleet, however, granted the plaintiffs’ leave to amend their complaint to allege a claim for contributory infringement.

Key Points:  A complaint sufficiently alleges direct infringement where it provides specific details as to at least one claim allegedly infringed under each patent-in-suit, specific examples of at least one product that performs the identified functions, and specific examples of an accused class of products. To state a claim for contributory infringement, it is not sufficient to simply allege that the only use for the product infringes the patent-in-suit and the defendant is aware of it.