The Software IP Report

Some Complaints for Patent Infringement Easily Fail Under Iqbal and Twombley

By Charles Bieneman

Categories: Patent Civil Procedure, The Software IP Report

Here is an example of how the abnegation of Form 18 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is changing patent litigation.  In Mike Murphy’s Enters. v. Fineline Indus., LLC, No. 1:16-cv-784-LJO-SAB (E.D. Cal. Aug. 4 2016), the court granted a Rule12(b)(6) motion and dismissed the plaintiff’s complaint alleging infringement of United States Patent No. 6,234,099, stating that the plaintiff would have one chance to amend.

Relying on Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), the sum and total of the court’s analysis was as follows:

[Plaintiff] MMEI’s complaint is woefully insufficient to state a claim for patent infringement. MMEI provides no facts to explain in any detail how Fineline allegedly infringed the ‘099 Patent. MMEI simply alleges that Fineline’s products did so without any explanation. “Merely naming a product and providing a conclusory statement that it infringes a patent is insufficient to meet the ‘plausibility’ standard set forth in Twombly and Iqbal.” Medsquire LLC v. Spring Med. Sys., Inc., No. 2:11-cv-4504-JHN-PLA, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107416, 2011 WL 4101093, at *3 (C.D. Cal. Aug. 31, 2011). MMEI’s patent infringement claim therefore fails. MMEI’s opposition—the substance of which is two paragraphs long and makes no argument beyond stating in a wholly conclusory manner that MMEI has stated a patent infringement claim—does not alter this conclusion.