Grecia v. McDonald's Corporation
MEMORANDUM Opinion and Order Signed by the Honorable Sharon Johnson Coleman on 1/24/2017:Mailed notice(rth, )
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
Case No. 16-cv-02560
Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
William Grecia filed a two count complaint, (Dkt. 1), against McDonald’s Corporation
alleging that McDonald’s infringed on claims 9 and 10 of U.S. Patent No. 8,533,860 (the “‘860
patent”) and claims 12-14 and 24-26 of U.S. Patent No. 8,402,555 (the “‘555 patent”). Claim 10 of
the ‘860 patent and claims 13-14 and 24-26 of the ‘555 patent are dependent on claim 9 of the ‘860
patent and claim 12 of the ‘555 patent, respectively. In its motion to dismiss, (Dkt. 17), McDonald’s
argued that Grecia pleaded himself out of court because the complaint demonstrated that
McDonald’s actions did not constitute “use” of the claimed inventions under 35 U.S.C. § 271(a). In
its August 23, 2016, Memorandum Opinion and Order, the Court held that Grecia did not plausibly
allege that McDonald’s used the claimed systems because the McDonald’s data processing devices –
point-of-sale devices – are not part of the claimed systems and dismissed Grecia’s complaint with
prejudice. (Dkt. 24 at 4). Grecia now moves for reconsideration of the Court’s dismissal of the
complaint. For the following reasons, Grecia’s motion  is denied.
Grecia brings his motion to reconsider under Rule 60(b)(6). The Court, however, treats the
motion as a Rule 59(e) motion because Grecia asks the Court to correct “manifest errors of law”
and because the motion was brought within 28 days of the Court’s order. See Seong-Tiong Ho v.
Taflove, 648 F.3d 489, 495 n. 5 (7th Cir. 2011). Relief under 59(e) is appropriate “where the movant
clearly establishes . . . that the court committed a manifest error of law or fact . . . .” Cincinnati Life
Ins. Co. v. Beyrer, 722 F.3d 939, 954 (7th Cir. 2013) (internal quotations omitted).
Grecia explicitly contends that the Court made two manifest errors of law justifying relief.
First, he claims that the Court failed to construe well-pleaded facts in his favor when it held that the
point-of-sale device was not part of the claimed systems. Second, Grecia argues that the Court
abused its discretion by denying him an opportunity to amend his complaint. Neither of these
arguments is persuasive.
On a motion to dismiss, the Court has an obligation to construe well-pleaded facts in the
light most favorable to the non-moving party. See, e.g., Vesely v. Armslist LLC, 762 F.3d 661, 664 (7th
Cir. 2014). It is Grecia’s responsibility, however, to bring facts that support his position to the
Court’s attention. Anderson-El v. Shade, 114 F.3d 1191, 1191 (7th Cir. 1997) (citing Little v. Cox’s
Supermarkets, 71 F.3d 637, 641 (7th Cir. 1995)).
The Court, based on Grecia’s allegations and the specific citations he made to the ‘860 and
‘555 patents, which are attached to the complaint as exhibits, determined that Grecia’s claimed
systems are comprised of a first receipt module, an authentication module, a connection module, a
request module, a second receipt module, and a branding module. (Dkt. 24 at 4; Dkt. 1 ¶¶ 10a-f,
11a-f, 12a-f, 13a-f, 17a-f, 18a-f, 19a-f, 20a-f). Nowhere in the complaint, which is laced with direct
quotes from and citations to specific portions of the patents, did Grecia allege that point-of-sale
devices are part of the claimed systems. Grecia now asserts that it pled that point-of-sale devices are
part of the claimed systems because it attached the ‘860 and ‘555 patents to the complaint as
exhibits. Specifically, he points to patent ‘860, which provides that claim 9 is a “system . . .
comprising connected modules in operation as computing and storage, the computing and storage
comprising a server, a database, devices and users . . . .” (Dkt. 25 at 2 (citing Dkt. 1-1 at col. 15:45-49)
(emphasis in Dkt. 25)). This language was not well pled given that, in his complaint, Grecia detailed
the components of claim 9 and provided specific citations to portions of the patents that describe
the components, but excluded lines 47-49 of column 15 from his description. (Compare Dkt. 1 at
¶¶ 10, 11, 12, 13 (“Claim 9 is a ‘system for authorizing access to digital content using a worldwide
cloud system infrastructure . . . .’”) (citing Dkt. 1-1 col. 15:45-46), with Dkt. 25 at 2 (“Claim 9 is a
‘system . . . comprising connected modules in operation and computing and storage, the computing
and storage comprising a server, a database, devices and users . . . .’”) (citing Dkt. 1-1 col 15:45-49)
(emphasis in Dkt. 25)). Grecia also failed to bring that portion of claim 9 to the Court’s attention in
his response to the motion to dismiss, despite the fact that the point-of-sale devices were clearly at
The Court construed all of Grecia’s well-pleaded facts and the 50 citations he made to the
exhibits – citations which did not include Dkt. 1-1 col. 15:47-49 – in his favor and still found that
Grecia failed to allege that the point-of-sale device was part of the claimed systems. Grecia, who is
represented by counsel, is not entitled to the same liberal construction courts afford pro se litigants.
See Ambrose v. Roeckeman, 749 F.3d 615, 618 (7th Cir. 2014) (citations omitted) (“We have repeatedly
emphasized that pro se petitions are to be construed liberally, and should be held to standards less
stringent than formal pleadings drafted by attorneys.”); see also Shashoua v. Quern, 612 F.2d 282, 285
(7th Cir. 1979). Contrary to Grecia’s contention, the Court did not “turn a blind eye” to the exhibits
attached to the complaint, (Dkt. 25 at 4); the Court looked to the portions of the exhibits to which it
Grecia next contends that the Court committed a manifest error of law when it denied him
an opportunity to replead. The Court is well within its discretion to dismiss a complaint without an
opportunity to amend where a plaintiff’s request to amend his complaint is first raised in a motion to
reconsider and where a party fails to offer an amendment that would cure any defects. Indep. Trust
Corp. v. Stewart Info. Servs. Corp., 665 F.3d 930, 943 (7th Cir. 2012) (citations omitted). The Court also
notes that a motion for reconsideration is not the place to rehash arguments that could have
previously been raised. See Caisse Nationale de Credit Agricole v. CBI Indus., 90 F.3d 1264, 1270 (7th Cir.
1996) (citations omitted); Sigsworth v. City of Aurora, Ill., 487 F.3d 506, 512 (7th Cir. 2007) (citations
omitted); Casas v. Devane, No. 15-cv-8112, 2015 WL 9182744, at *1 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 25, 2016). In its
motion to dismiss, McDonald’s explicitly argued that the Court should dismiss Grecia’s complaint
“because there is no possibility that Mr. Grecia can amend his complaint to state a claim . . . .” (Dkt.
17 at 6). Grecia did not address this argument or suggest any amendments that would save his
complaint in his response. Indep. Trust, 665 F.3d at 943. Grecia did not request leave to amend in
his response, despite McDonald’s’ argument for dismissal with prejudice, therefore that argument is
not properly before the Court.
In addition to these two alleged errors, Grecia suggests that the Court erred by relying on
Uniloc USA, Inc. v. Microsoft Corp., 632 F.3d 1292 (Fed. Cir. 2011) instead of Centillion Data Sys., LLC
v. Quest Commc’ns Int’l, Inc., 631 F.3d 1279 (Fed. Cir. 2011). The Court relied on the reasoning in
both Centillion and Uniloc in reaching its decision on the motion to dismiss. In Centillion, the Federal
Circuit addressed the issue of infringement for “use” of a divided system. 631 F.3d at 1283. In the
instant case, the Court found that Grecia’s claimed systems were not divided, unlike the one at issue
in Centillion. The Court then turned to Uniloc because it shows “that the test for ‘use’ is different for
divided systems than for inventions controlled by a single party.” (Dkt. 24 at 3). This Court
properly applied the Uniloc test to Grecia’s single-user system claims and found that McDonald’s did
not “use” Grecia’s systems. Grecia argues that Uniloc, which “teaches how a jury can support a
finding that a defendant infringes an apparatus claim,” is inapplicable here because Grecia’s claim is
a system claim; Grecia, however, provides no authority indicating that the Court’s reliance on Uniloc
was a manifest error of law. (Dkt. 25 at 4).
For the foregoing reasons, Grecia’s motion for reconsideration  is denied.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
SHARON JOHNSON COLEMAN
United States District Judge
DATED: January 24, 2017
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