Vague allegations get patent infringement lawsuit dismissed. SIT v. HP

Vague allegations get patent infringement lawsuit dismissed. SIT v. HP

A patent is a set of exclusive rights granted the the inventor of a new invention. To be granted a patent in the United States an inventor must file a patent application with the United State Patent and Trademark Office. The USPTO will assign an examining attorney to review the patent application and confirm that the invention meets the requirements for the patent to be granted.  If the examining attorney determine that the patent application complies with all the statutory requirements of United States Patent Law, the inventor will be granted a patent on the invention claimed in the patent application.

A patent grants its owner the exclusive right to make, use, sell and import an invention in the United States.  If someone other than the patent owner attempts to exercise one of these exclusive rights, without authorization, that can be considered patent infringement.  If a patent owner feels that their patent is being infringed on, the patent owner can file a lawsuit in United States Federal Court.

Patent law does not exist in a vacuum, when a plaintiff files a suit for patent infringement there are several requirements that the complaint must meet.  The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure outline the requirements that all complaints must comply with to move forward in court.  One of those requirements is that a 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). The complaint must set forth enough facts, accepted as true, to “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”  A claim is facially plausible “when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).  Restated simply, a plaintiff may not merely recite the law, accuse the defendant of wrong doing, and not explain what the defendant did wrong.  This means that a patent plaintiff must explain in some way, how a defendant infringed on a patent in the initial complaint.  The consequences for not doing so is dismissal of the complaint.

SUPERINTERCONNECT TECHNOLOGIES LLC v. HP INC., 19-cv-00169 (D.DE 2019) is a case which illustrates the consequences of not explaining in the initial complaint, how a patent is infringed.  The plaintiff in this case owns three different patents related to Universal Flash Storage.  The defendant sells personal computers that use Universal Flash Storage.  The plaintiff filed suit against the defendant for patent infringement in 2019.

In its complaint the Plaintiff identified a product sold by the Defendant, alleged that the accused product incorporates technology that complies with an industry standard, and asserted that the technology meets the elements of one of the Plaintiff’s patent claims.  The Defendant moved for dismissal of the complaint for failing to comply with  Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2).

The trial court found for the Defendant and dismissed the complaint.  In its ruling the court noted that the Plainitiff failed to  allege facts showing how the technology, the standard, or the accused product infringe on the patent.   The court found that the complaint failed to allege facts which would support the conclusion that Universal Flash Storage devices, such as the Defendant’s product, infringed on the patents.  Without such facts, the complaint could not be sustained.

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