Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Twombly and Iqbal do not Apply to Counterclaims and Affirmative Defenses

The court denied in part plaintiff's motion to dismiss defendant's invalidity counterclaims for failure to state a claim. "No federal court of appeals has considered how the [Bell Atlantic Corporation v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 554 (2007)] and [Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937 (2009)] decisions apply to patent invalidity counterclaim or affirmative defense pleadings. District courts, including those in this circuit, have reached conflicting results. . . . The Court holds that invalidity counterclaims and affirmative defenses that allege only their statutory bases are adequate to survive a Rule 12 motion challenging the sufficiency of the pleadings. Such pleadings conform with Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure by giving the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests. Because the pleadings also meet the standard set out in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for pleading patent infringement claims, it would be inequitable to hold that they are nonetheless insufficient to state an invalidity counterclaim.

Graphic Packaging International, Inc. v. C.W. Zumbiel Co., 1-10-cv-03008 (GAND August 1, 2011, Order) (Totenberg, J.)

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