United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION (GRANTING MOTION TO
E. Hudson United States District Judge
MATTER is before the Court on Defendant LogicMark, LLC's
("Defendant" or "LogicMark") Motion to
Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim (ECF No. 7), filed on
November 21, 2016.
Court will dispense with oral argument because the facts and
legal contentions are adequately presented in the materials
before the Court, and oral argument would not aid in the
decisional process. E.D. Va. Local Civ. R. 7(J).
reasons stated herein, the Court will grant the Motion and
will dismiss Plaintiff Nevin Jenkins's ("Plaintiff
or "Jenkins") Complaint without prejudice.
required by Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure, the Court assumes Plaintiffs well-pleaded
allegations to be true and views all facts in the light most
favorable to him. T.G, Slater & Son v. Donald P.
& Patricia A. Brennan LLC, 385 F.3d 836, 841 (4th
Cir. 2004) (citing Mylan Labs, Inc. v. Matkari, 7
F.3d 1130, 1134 (4th Cir. 1993)). At this stage, the
Court's analysis is both informed and constrained by the
four corners of Plaintiff s Complaint. Unfortunately,
Plaintiffs Complaint contains little in the way of facts and
instead relies heavily on legal conclusions and naked
accusations. Nevertheless, viewed through this lens, the
Court determines that the alleged facts are as follows.
is the owner of the entire interest in the four patents at
issue in this case: (1) U.S. Patent No. RE41, 845, reissued
on October 19, 2010, and first issued as U.S. Patent No. 7,
231, 200 on June 12, 2007; (2) U.S. Patent No. RE41, 392,
reissued on June 22, 2010, and first issued as U.S. Patent
No. 7, 315, 736 on January 1, 2008; (3) U.S. Patent No. 7,
933, 579, issued on April 26, 2011; and (4) U.S. Patent No.
8, 548, 422, issued on October 1, 2013. (Compl. ¶ 8, ECF
No. 1.) All four patents teach personal emergency
communication systems and have a number of independent method
and apparatus claims. (See Id. ¶¶ 11-16.)
September 9, 2016, Plaintiff filed a ten-count Complaint
against LogicMark, alleging that three of Defendant's
products-namely, its "Guardian Alert, " "Life
Sentry, " and "Freedom Alert" systems-infringe
his four patents. (Id. ¶¶ 20-109.)
Plaintiff alleges direct infringement, contributory
infringement, inducement of infringement, and willful
infringement. (Id.) Jenkins provides a number of
"exemplary" claims from each of the four
patents-in-suit to support his assertions. (See Id.
allegation describes one of the three accused products,
stating that it "provide[s] a personal emergency
communication system, including a user-carried portable
communication unit with a button which, when depressed by the
user, sends a call request signal to a base unit, and
provide[s] a base unit that initiates a telephone call
through a dial-up network to an emergency responder in
wireless voice communication with the portable unit when the
call is connected, and ultimately provides user access to
a[n] emergency responder." (Id. ¶¶
17-19.) With reference to the "Life Sentry" system,
the Complaint further adds that it "provides placement
of a voice communication with an operator at the emergency
center in wireless voice communication with the portable unit
when the call is connected, wherein a program is used to set
up the system to a selected one of a central monitoring
station and a 911 operator and wherein the units are
programmable selectively by phone, voice or computer."
(Id. ¶ 18.)
two passages represent the full extent to which Plaintiff
attempts to plead facts alleging infringement of "owe
or more of the claims of the [asserted]
patent[s]." (Id. ¶¶ 20, 29, 38, 47,
56, 65, 74, 83, 92, and 101 (emphasis added).) Plaintiff
makes no effort in his Complaint to specify which claims are
allegedly infringed or how they are infringed.
analytical framework for reviewing motions to dismiss for
failure to state a claim is well settled in both the Fourth
and Federal Circuits. "A motion to dismiss under Rule
12(b)(6) tests the sufficiency of a complaint; importantly,
it does not resolve contests surrounding the facts, the
merits of a claim, or the applicability of defenses."
Republican Party of N.C. v. Martin, 980 F.2d 943,
952 (4th Cir. 1992) (citation omitted). The Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure "require only 'a short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief, ' in order to 'give the defendant fair
notice of what the ... claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests.'" BellAtl Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S.
41, 47 (1957)). A complaint need not assert "detailed
factual allegations, " but must contain "more than
labels and conclusions" or a "formulaic recitation
of the elements of a cause of action." Twombly,
550 U.S. at 555 (citations omitted). Thus, the
"[r]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right
to relief above the speculative level" to one that is
"plausible on its face, " rather than merely
"conceivable." Id. at 555, 570.
considering such a motion, a plaintiffs well-pleaded
allegations are taken as true and the complaint is viewed in
the light most favorable to the plaintiff. T.G.
Slater, 385 F.3d at 841 (citation omitted). Legal
conclusions enjoy no such deference. Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
to the abrogation of Form 18 of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure, all patent complaints filed after December 1,
2015, are subject to the normal pleading standards of Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a). See Order Amending
Fed.R.Civ.P. (U.S. Apr. 29, 2015).
inartfully drafted Complaint, Plaintiff does little more than
recite the elements of direct infringement, contributory
infringement, inducement of infringement, and willful
infringement in alleging that LogicMark's products
somehow infringe his four patents. Because each of the ten
counts in the Complaint is nearly identical-merely stating
various combinations of the allegedly infringing products and
Jenkins's patents- the Court will address the sufficiency
of the claims themselves instead of analyzing each count.
standards enumerated by the Supreme Court in Iqbal
and Twombly are strictly applied in direct patent
infringement cases. See Macronix Int'l Co., Ltd. v.
Spansion Inc.,4 F.Supp.3d 797, 803 (E.D. Va. 2014)
("[T]o exempt patent complaints from the requirements of
Twombly and Iqbal is to ignore a
fundamental rationale that underpins those decisions.").
These guidelines "require counsel to focus complaints
only on viable claims. Thus, before filing a complaint,
counsel must ...