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Cary A. Jardin v. Datallegro

April 11, 2011

CARY A. JARDIN,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
DATALLEGRO, INC. AND STUART FROST,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Irma E. Gonzalez, Chief Judge United States District Court

ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR A MORE DEFINITE STATEMENT AND GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS

[Doc. No. 16]

Presently before the Court is Defendants' motion (1) for a more definite statement as to Counts I and II of Plaintiff's Complaint pursuant to Rule 12(e), and (2) to dismiss Counts III through VI pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). [Doc. No. 16.] For the reasons stated below, the Court GRANTS-IN-PART and DENIES-IN-PART Defendants' motion.

BACKGROUND

This is the second case filed by Plaintiff Cary A. Jardin ("Plaintiff" or "Jardin") against Defendants DATAllegro, Inc. ("DATAllegro") and Stuart Frost ("Frost," collectively "Defendants"). The two cases concern the same parties and substantially the same subject matter, and the Court has determined the two cases related. [See Doc. Nos. 5 & 6.]

Plaintiff founded XPrime, Inc. ("XPrime"), a company involved in database technology. In 2002 and 2003, Plaintiff developed technology at XPrime that "facilitated high-performance computing on a scalable basis." [Compl. ¶ 11.] Plaintiff was assigned the rights to all of XPrime's intellectual property in 2005. [Id. ¶ 12.]

In January 2003, Plaintiff filed two patent applications: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ("USPTO") Application Numbers 10/345,504 (the "'504 Application") and 10/345,811 (the "'811 Application"). [Compl. ¶ 13.] Neither application was publically available until the USPTO published the '504 Application on August 12, 2004, and the '811 Application on February 10, 2005. [Id. ¶¶ 14, 20-21.]

Defendant Frost was hired as the CEO of XPrime in March 2003. By April 2003, XPrime "informed Frost that he was not employed by XPrime." [Id. ¶ 25.] There was some dispute as to the nature of the relationship between Frost and XPrime until "their relationship came to a formal conclusion in July or August of 2003." [Id. ¶ 26.] Between March and August 2003, Frost had access to the confidential information contained in the '504 and '811 Applications. [Id. ¶¶ 22-23, 27-37, 41-43.] Plaintiff alleges Frost misappropriated the intellectual property described in those applications. On June 26, 2003, Frost incorporated his own company, DATAllegro, allegedly a competitor of XPrime. [Id. ¶¶ 38-40.] On February 21, 2004, Frost filed with the USPTO provisional patent application number 60/546,428 (the "'428 Provisional Application"), which identified Frost as the sole inventor. [Id. ¶¶ 44, 53.] On February 17, 2005, Frost filed nonprovisional application number 11/059,510 (the "'510 Application"), which claimed priority to the '428 Provisional Application. [Id. ¶ 61.]

On October 19, 2010, the '510 Application issued as U.S. Patent Number 7,818,349 (the "'349 Patent"). [Id. ¶ 79.] The '349 Patent was assigned to Defendant DATAllegro.

Plaintiff alleges the '349 Patent is based on the technology described in the '504 and '811 Applications. As a result, Plaintiff claims to be the true inventor of the '349 Patent.

Claims I and II of Plaintiff's complaint seek to correct inventorship and ownership of the '349 Patent. In claims III through VI, Plaintiff asserts claims stemming from Defendants' alleged misappropriation of Plaintiff's intellectual property: conversion, constructive trust, accounting and unjust enrichment, and slander of title.

Defendants' current motion seeks a more definitive statement with regard to claims I and II, the inventorship and ownership claims. The motion also seeks to dismiss the claims III through VI, arguing they are preempted by California trade secret law.

LEGAL STANDARD

Motion for a More Definite Statement "A party may move for a more definite statement of a pleading to which a responsive pleading is allowed but which is so vague or ambiguous that the party cannot reasonably prepare a response." Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(e). "The class of pleadings that are appropriate subjects for a motion under Rule 12(e) is quite small." Kennedy v. Full Tilt Poker, 2010 WL 1710006, at *2-3 (C.D. Cal. Apr. 26, 2010) (quoting 5C CHARLES ALAN WRIGHT & ARTHUR R. MILLER, FEDERAL PRACTICE & PROCEDURE ยง 1376 at 311 (3d ed. 2004)). "A motion for more definite statement is used to provide a remedy for an unintelligible pleading rather than a correction for lack of detail." N. Cnty. Commc'ns Corp. v. Sprint Commc'ns Co., L.P., 2010 WL 1499289, at *1 (S.D. Cal. ...


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