Touchscreen v. RIM, 6:12cv263 (3/27/13)
Judge: Michael Schneider
Holding: Motion to Dismiss Willful Infringement Claims GRANTED
Defendant RIM contended that Plaintiff Touchscreen’s willfulness claims should be dismissed. Judge Schneider agreed, and addressed both Touchscreen's pre-filing and post-filing allegations of willful infringement.
First, with respect to the allegations of pre-suit willful infringement, the Court noted that the original complaint did not allege any pre-filing knowledge of the patents. "Rather," the Court wrote, "the complaint merely states as to each patent that “[t]o the extent that facts learned in discovery show that RIM’s infringement of the [asserted patents] is or has been willful, Touchscreen Gestures, LLC reserves the right to request such a finding at time of trial." This "reserves the right" allegation, absent any supporting facts, Judge Schneider concluded, was insufficient to establish a willful infringement claim.
Judge Schneider concluded that the complaint presented no facts supporting that Touchscreen had a good faith basis for alleging willful infringement. The absence of any allegation of pre-filing knowledge of the patents was held fatal to Touchscreen’s willful infringement claims, as was the fact that the plaintiff made no allegation that RIM acted despite an objectively high likelihood that that its actions constituted infringement of a valid patent.
Moving on to post-filing will infringement (or at least attempting to) Touchscreen next argued that the filing of the suit itself was sufficient to support post-filing willful infringement claims. Judge Schneider disagreed, finding that the allegations were not sufficient, and that post-filing conduct could be remedied by seeking a preliminary injunction, which Touchscreen had not done.
To maintain willful infringement claims, Touchscreen must demonstrate that RIM knew about the patents and acted despite an objectively high likelihood that its actions constituted infringement of a valid patent. Touchscreen’s complaint is completely void of any allegations or facts pertaining to willful infringement. See Realtime Data, LLC v. Stanley, 721 F. Supp. 2d 538, 545 (E.D. Tex. 2010) (finding that based on pleading language nearly identical to the instant case, that “Seagate clearly requires a patentee to do more than suggest that more definite allegations are to follow once discovery is underway”).