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Jds Technologies, Inc. v. Avigilon Usa Corp.

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

June 5, 2015

JDS TECHNOLOGIES, INC., a Michigan corporation, Plaintiff,
v.
AVIGILON USA CORPORATION, a Delaware corporation and AVIGILON CORPORATION, a Canadian corporation, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS (Doc. 13)

AVERN COHN, District Judge.

I. Introduction

This is a patent case. Plaintiff JDS Technologies, Inc. (JDS) has filed a 59-page complaint alleging patent infringement against defendants, Avigilon USA Corporation, Inc. and Avigilon Corporation (collectively, Avigilon). JDS and Avigilon are competitors in the area of video management software and systems. The software, more particularly, provides for accessing and displaying camera images commonly used in security and surveillance applications. The complaint claims that Avigilon has directly, indirectly, [1] and wilfully[2] infringed U.S. Patent No. 6, 891, 566 (the 566 patent) and U.S. Patent 8, 185, 964 (the 964 patent).

Before the Court is Avigilon's motion to dismiss[3] on the grounds that the complaint fails to contain allegations to support a plausible claim for indirect infringement and willful infringement.[4] Avigilon says that an indirect infringement claim and a wilful infringement claim both requires that a defendant have knowledge of the asserted patent before the complaint is filed. Avigilon says that the complaint falls short because it does not claim that Avigilon had the requisite knowledge of the patents before the complaint was filed.[5]

For the reasons that follow, the motion will be denied.

II. Legal Standard

To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the complaint's "factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level on the assumption that all of the allegations in the complaint are true." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 545 (2007). See also Ass'n of Cleveland Fire Fighters v. City of Cleveland, Ohio, 502 F.3d 545, 548 (6th Cir. 2007). The court is "not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). In sum, "[t]o survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face." Id. at 678 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

III. Analysis

A.

To state a claim for patent infringement, "a patentee need only plead facts sufficient to place the alleged infringer on notice. This requirement ensures that the accused infringer has sufficient knowledge of the facts alleged to enable it to answer the complaint and defend itself." Venture, Inc. v. Cellco Partnership, 2011 WL 207978, at *2 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 21, 2011) (quoting Phonometrics, Inc. v. Hospitality Franchise Systems, Inc., 203 F.3d 790, 794 (Fed. Cir. 2000)) (internal quotations omitted).

Assuming that pre-suit knowledge is required in order to sufficiently plead a claim for indirect or induced infringement, [6] the complaint contains the following allegations regarding Avigilon's pre-suit knowledge of the patents-in-suit:

17. JDS and Avigilon are competitors for the sales of video management software.
18. Avigilon is a large and sophisticated company and is aware of the intellectual property rights of others in the video management software industry. On its website at www.avigilon.com, Avigilon states that it provides "industry-leading HD network video management software and megapixel cameras [that] are reinventing surveillance." See www.avigilon.com/about. Upon information and belief, Avigilon regularly conducts searches for patents related to its products. Thus, a reasonable inference is that Avigilon is aware of the Patents-in-Suit. Plaintiff asserts that this reasonable inference is true.
19. JDS prominently marks its video management software with the Patents-in-Suit. JDS has marked its video management software with U.S. Patent No. 6, 891, 566 since shortly after its issuance in 2005. JDS has also marked its video management software with U.S. Patent No. 8, 185, 964 since shortly after its issuance in 2012. Thus, Plaintiff hereby asserts that there is a reasonable inference that Avigilon has had knowledge of the '566 ...

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