United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING MOTION TO DISMISS
H. CLELAND UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a patent infringement case. Plaintiff Filter Plus, Inc.
alleges that Defendants The O R Company and Surgical
Principles, Inc. manufacture and distribute a knock-off of
one of Plaintiff's products, protected by U.S. Patent No.
7, 537, 563 (“the ‘563 Patent”). After
Defendants filed a motion to dismiss, (Dkt. # 11), Plaintiff
submitted an amended complaint, (Dkt. # 14). Defendants
withdrew their first motion and filed the motion to dismiss
presently before the court, arguing that Plaintiff's
amended complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief
can be granted and that this court lacks personal
jurisdiction over either Defendant. (Dkt. # 19.) The motion
is fully briefed and a hearing is unnecessary. See
E.D. Mich. LR 7.1(f)(2). For the reasons that follow, the
court will deny Defendants' motion.
purposes of this motion, the court accepts Plaintiff's
well-pleaded factual allegations as true. Plaintiff is a
Michigan corporation that designs, manufactures, imports, and
markets a variety of surgical tools and supplies. Defendant
The O R Company is an Australian corporation that also
develops and supplies medical devices, and uses Defendant
Surgical Principles, a Washington state corporation based in
Tacoma, Washington, as its United States distributer. (Dkt. #
14, Pg. ID 66-67.)
owns the ‘563 Patent, entitled “Heater for
Surgical Viewing Instruments.” (Dkt. # 14-2.) Plaintiff
markets and sells a product covered by the ‘563 Patent
that warms surgical scopes to body temperature before use to
prevent the scopes' lenses from clouding. Defendant
Surgical Principles purchased these scope warmers from
Plaintiff from 2002 to 2015. As part of these sales,
Plaintiffs regularly communicated with Timothy Wynne, who
holds an ownership interest in both Defendants and exerts
control over at least Surgical Principles. (Dkt. # 14, Pg. ID
2016, Defendants contacted Ten-Comfort, the Taiwan-based
manufacturer of Plaintiff's scope warmer, to source a
“knock-off.” Defendants stopped purchasing
Plaintiff's product and began marketing their own scope
warmer, the “Liquid Scope WarmOR.” Plaintiff then
initiated this litigation, claiming that Defendants infringed
the ‘563 Patent by importing and selling the accused
product. (Dkt. # 14, Pg. ID 71.)
Failure to state a claim
complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a party may move for dismissal for
the “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted.” In patent cases, the standards applicable to
Rule 12(b)(6) motions are those articulated by the regional
court of appeals rather than by the Federal Circuit. See
R Carriers, Inc. v. DriverTech LLC (In re Bill of Lading
Transmission & Processing Sys. Patent Litig.), 681
F.3d 1323, 1331 (Fed. Cir. 2013)).
survive a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6), the complaint's “[f]actual
allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above
the speculative level . . . on the assumption that all the
allegations in the complaint are true.” Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). A complaint
“must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).
Bare allegations are not enough. “[W]here the
well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than
the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged
- but it has not show[n] - that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” Id. at 679 (internal quotation marks
omitted). The court “primarily considers the
allegations in the complaint, although matters of public
record, orders, items appearing in the record of the case,
and exhibits attached to the complaint, also may be taken
into account.” Amini v. Oberlin Coll., 259
F.3d 493, 502 (6th Cir. 2001) (quoting Nieman v. NLO,
Inc., 108 F.3d 1546, 1554 (6th Cir.1997)).
district court lacks jurisdiction over the defendants,
dismissal is appropriate under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(2). To determine whether personal
jurisdiction exists in a patent infringement action, the
court applies the law of the Federal Circuit. See Elecs.
For Imaging, Inc. v. Coyle, 340 F.3d 1344, 1348 (Fed.
Cir. 2003). For the court to exercise personal jurisdiction
over a non-consenting defendant outside the boundaries of the
forum state, two requirements must be satisfied. See
Red Wing Shoe Co., Inc. v. Hockerson-Halberstadt,
Inc., 148 F.3d 1355, 1358 (Fed. Cir. 1998). First, the
defendant must be subject to personal jurisdiction under the
laws of the forum state, in this case the state of Michigan.
Id. Second, the exercise of personal jurisdiction
over the defendant must comport with the due process clause.
Id. In addition, the plaintiff must follow the
general guidelines for pleadings standards-the plaintiff must
allege specific facts to show the standard has been met for
personal jurisdiction. Palnik v. Westlake Entm't,
Inc., 344 Fed.Appx. 249, 251 (6th Cir. 2009) (stating
that complaints must follow federal pleading standards for
personal jurisdiction issues as well).
provide two grounds for their motion to dismiss. First, that
Plaintiff's complaint fails to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted because it does not allege facts
showing that the accused product meets each limitation of the
claim. Second, that the complaint does not allege sufficient
facts to show that the court has personal jurisdiction over
Defendants. The court will address each in turn.
Failure to state a claim
to December 1, 2015, plaintiffs alleging patent infringement
only needed to meet the lower pleading standard set by
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 84 and Form 18. However, Rule
84 has since been abrogated, and the parties agree that the
standard elucidated under Twombley ...