Judge Robinson Denies Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss Claims for Direct, Indirect and Willful Infringement in Multi-Defendant Patent Infringement Suit

In Walker Digital, LLC v. Facebook, Inc., C.A. No. 11-313-SLR, Judge Robinson denied defendants’ motion to dismiss plaintiff’s claims for direct, induced, contributory and willful infringement. Id. at 1. Plaintiff filed suit against multiple defendants for infringement of two patents-in-suit relating to e-commerce transaction technology. Id. at 1-2. Plaintiff alleged that defendants “ha[ve] and continue[] to directly, indirectly and willfully infringe” the patents-in-suit. Id. at 2. Two of the defendants in the case moved to dismiss the allegations against them for failure to state a claim. Id. at 3. These defendants argued that the amended complaint was “ripe for dismissal for failure to state a claim” because: (1) “the accused marketing promotions on their face show that they do not satisfy the ‘unless and until’ claim limitation of the patents-in-suit” and that amended complaint (2) lacks factual allegations sufficient to state a claim for indirect and willful infringement.” Id. at 3. The Court denied defendants’ motion.
Regarding the claims for direct infringement, and despite defendants’ arguments to the contrary, the Court concluded that “dismissing the amended complaint on the grounds that it fails to state a claim for direct infringement would be premature” and that the Court was “not prepared to engage in a claim construction exercise at this stage of the proceedings, with no context whatsoever provided by discovery or a motion practice.” Id. at 5. Regarding the claims for inducement, the Court found that the plaintiff’s allegations “pass[ed] muster under Rule 8” and were therefore sufficient for pleading purposes. Id. at 10. Citing the Supreme Court’s decision in Global-Tech Appliances, Inc. v. SEB S.A., 131 S. Ct. 2060, 179 L. Ed. 2d 1167 (2011), the Court noted that “if a complaint sufficiently identifies, for purposes of Rule 8, the patent at issue and allegedly infringing conduct, a defendant’s receipt of the complaint and decision to continue its conduct despite knowledge gleaned from the complaint satisfies the requirements of Global-Tech.” Id. at 11.
Likewise, regarding the claims for contributory infringement, the Court found that the allegations of the amended complaint satisfied each of the elements of contributory infringement; were “facially plausible” and provided defendants “adequate notice” of the claims asserted against them. Id. at 12. Finally, regarding the claims for willfulness, the Court determined that the allegations of the amended complaint were sufficiently pled to state a claim for willful infringement. Id. at 14. The Court noted that the “amended complaint provides evidence that [defendants] had pre-suit knowledge of the patents-in-suit due to . . . interactions with [plaintiff’s] representatives, which occurred before the original complaint was filed” and that the Court can “infer from [defendants’] conduct after plaintiff filed its original complaint that [defendants] knew or should have known the objectively high likelihood that [their] continuous and deliberate actions would constitute infringement of the patents-in-suit.” Id. at 14-15.

Walker Digital, LLC v. Facebook, Inc., C.A. No. 11-313-SLR

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