Pragmatus Telecom LLC v Ford Motor Company
MEMORANDUM ORDER granting in part and denying in part 14 MOTION to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim. The claims of indirect infringement are DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. Plaintiff is granted LEAVE TO AMEND its complaint no later than July 20, 2012 (see order for further). Signed by Judge Richard G. Andrews on 7/5/2012. (ksr, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF DELAWARE
PRAGMATUS TELECOM, LLC,
Civil Action No. 12-92-RGA
FORD MOTOR COMPANY,
Before the Court is a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. (D.I. 14). The
motion seeks dismissal of all claims of direct and indirect infringement. 1 The matter is fully
briefed. (D.I. 15, 19, 22, 34 & No. 12-88, D.I. 38).
The Plaintiff in its First Amended Complaint (D.I. 12) asserts that three patents are
infringed, all of which are captioned similarly: "Method and System for Coordinating Data and
Voice Communications via Customer Contact Channel Changing System [Using Voice Over
IP]." The amended complaint is 6 pages long.
The relevant facts alleged in the amended complaint are: Pragmatus owns the three
patents. (D.I. 12, ~~ 1, 10). The patents "relate to automated call distribution centers. [O]ne or
more servers provides network service to a customer, including a remote help option selectable
by the customer (e.g., "click to chat"). Upon selection of the remote help option, a help request
In three cases involving the same Plaintiff and three other defendants, involving
essentially identical complaints, the defendants have only filed to dismiss the indirect
infringement claims. (See Nos. 12-88-RGA (D.I. 15); 12-94-RGA (D.I. 17); 12-96-RGA (D.I.
14)). Those three cases will be resolved similarly to this one, by separate order.
is sent to a call center identifying a way in which the customer can be reached. The customer can
then be contacted and the help request handled correctly and efficiently." (Id,
"systems include, for example, Ford Motor's live chat and related customer service
communication channels." (Id,
Ford Motor has knowledge ofthe patents since January
27, 2012, when the original complaint in this case was filed. (ld,
Ford Motor's customers
"that engage Ford's live chat and related customer service functionality provided on its web
site(s) [two of which are identified by URL] and in its contact center(s) are encouraged to
In addition to the facts, there are boilerplate allegations regarding direct,
(and, less obviously) induced and contributory infringement, allegations of jurisdiction, and a
request for damages and an injunction.
The minimal allegations set forth in the counts against the defendant are all that are
required to satisfy Form 18 and to state a claim of direct infringement. See In re Bill ofLading
Transmission and Processing System Patent Litigation, 681 F.3d 1323, _ _, 2012 WL
2044605, *7 (Fed. Cir. June 7, 2012) ("whether [a complaint] adequately pleads direct
infringement is to be measured by the specificity required by Form 18."). 2 Thus, the motion to
dismiss claims of direct infringement will be denied.
The allegations are insufficient to state a claim for indirect infringement. See generally
id The allegation of contributory infringement states, in relevant part, that the defendant
"contributorily infringe[s] the patents by knowingly making, providing, and/or distributing"
infringing systems "including the functionality discussed herein." (ld,
There is no
The Federal Circuit further comments, "It will not always be true that a complaint which
contains just enough information to satisfy a governing form will be sufficient under
Twombly ...." Id at_, 2012 WL 2044605, at *7 n.6. Given the citations that follow in the
footnote, I do not believe this is meant to be some sort of limitation on the holding in the text.
allegation that the defendant "offers to sell or sells ... or imports" the functionality or anything
else. See 35 U.S.C. § 271(c). It seems pretty apparent that the Plaintiff has no basis to make
such an allegation against Ford. The allegations about the infringing systems "constitut[ing] a
material part of the claimed inventions and are not staple articles of commerce suitable for
substantial non-infringing use" are supported by no facts. (Id,
In regard to both forms of
indirect infringement, there are no allegations of direct infringement3 accompanying the
allegations of indirect infringement. See In re Bill ofLading, 681 F.3d at_, 2012 WL
2044605, at *5. The factual allegations about knowledge are sufficient. See Global-Tech
Appliances, Inc. v. SEB S.A., 131 S.Ct. 2060,2068 (2011). Ifthe indirect infringement
allegations were otherwise sufficient, knowledge as of January 27, 2012, would have been pled.
Specific intent is alleged generally. (Id,
No facts, however, are alleged from which one
could infer that the allegation is plausible. The allegations of both forms of indirect infringement
suffer from the bare bones nature of the complaint. Some facts would put some flesh on the
bones, and might, or might not, make the allegations plausible. Until such facts are pled,
however, the complaint fails to state a claim for indirect infringement.
Thus, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED this b a y of July 2012, that:
1. The Defendant's Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN
PART. The claims of indirect infringement are DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.
While it is true that the Plaintiff has previously amended its complaint, this would be the first
time in response to a court order. Thus, the Plaintiff is granted LEAVE TO AMEND its
There are hints. For example, Plaintiff says that the Defendant intended that its
customers (presumably meaning owners of Ford automobiles) "go on to Ford's website" to
infringe the patents (Id, ~14), but that is not the same thing as saying, "Ford customers infringe
the patents by using the websites," which appears to be what is intended.
complaint no later than July 20, 2012.
United States Distric Judge
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