Friday, December 14, 2012

Pleading Claim of Joint Infringement Requires Factual Support for Direction and Control Element

The court granted defendant's motion to dismiss plaintiff's joint infringement claims for failure to state a claim. "[B]ecause liability for joint infringement clearly requires proof of additional elements, such as control and direction over the other party, arguing that courts permit direct infringement claims when plaintiffs specify only a category of products is not relevant to the sufficiency of a claim of joint infringement. The Court agrees that [plaintiff] has simply stated, without any factual support, that the relationship between [defendant and its service provider] is one in which [defendant] exerts control and direction over the entire process such that every step is attributable to [defendant]. . . . The issue is not whether it is plausible that [defendant] would enter into a contractual relationship with [its service provider] (and possibly other unnamed joint infringers), such that it exerts the control necessary for joint infringement, but rather whether [plaintiff] has sufficiently alleged such a relationship in its Complaint. . . . [Plaintiff] has failed to sufficiently identify which of [defendant's] products are involved in joint infringement, or to adequately allege that [defendant] exerts control and direction over [its service provider] such that the entire patented process can be attributed to [defendant].”

Brandywine Communications Technologies, LLC v. Casio Computer Co. Ltd., et. al., 6-12-cv-00274 (FLMD December 5, 2012, Order) (Honeywell, J.).

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