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J2 Global Communications, Inc. and Advanced Messaging Technologies v. Vitelity Communications

April 12, 2012

J2 GLOBAL COMMUNICATIONS, INC. AND ADVANCED MESSAGING TECHNOLOGIES, INC., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
VITELITY COMMUNICATIONS, LLC, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dean D. Pregerson United States District Judge

O

ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS AND GRANTING PLAINTIFFS' REQUEST FOR LIMITED JURISDICTIONAL DISCOVERY

[Docket No. 13]

Presently before the court is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs' Complaint ("Motion"). Having reviewed the parties' moving papers, the court denies the Motion without prejudice, grants Plaintiffs' request for limited jurisdictional discovery, and adopts the following Order.

I. BACKGROUND

In their Complaint, Plaintiffs j2 Global Communications, Inc. and Advanced Messaging Technologies, Inc. allege that Defendant Vitelity, LLC d/b/a Vitelity Communications ("Vitelity") provides certain Internet fax services that infringe Plaintiffs' patents.

Plaintiffs also allege that: "Vitelity is doing business in California, including in this District. It solicits customers in this District and offers telephone numbers in this District for use by its customers. Moreover, Vitelity's network is partially based in California. Vitelity has servers located in California and processes calls in California." (Compl. ¶ 4.)

In its Motion, Vitelity argues that Plaintiffs have failed to adequately plead a claim for relief. Vitelity also argues that the court lacks personal jurisdiction. Plaintiffs disagree on both counts and, in the alternative as to personal jurisdiction, request leave to take limited jurisdictional discovery.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Failure to Plead a Claim

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) requires courts to dismiss claims for which no relief can be granted. When considering a 12(b)(6) motion, "a court must accept as true all allegations of material fact and must construe those facts in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." Resnick v. Hayes, 213 F.3d 443, 447 (9th Cir. 2000). In Ashcroft v. Iqbal, the Supreme Court explained that a court should first "identify[] pleadings that, because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth." 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1950 (2009). Next, the court should identify the complaint's "well-pleaded factual allegations, . . . assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief." Id.; see also Moss v. U.S. Secret Serv., 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009) ("In sum, for a complaint to survive a motion to dismiss, the nonconclusory factual content, and reasonable inferences from that content, must be plausibly suggestive of a claim entitling the plaintiff to relief." (internal quotation marks omitted)).

"A claim for direct infringement must state only: (1) ownership of the allegedly infringed patent; (2) the infringer's name; (3) a citation to the patent; (4) the infringing activity; and (5) citations to the applicable federal patent law." Vellata, LLC v. Best Buy Co., Inc., No. CV 10-6752, 2011 WL 61620, at *4 (C.D. Cal. Jan. 7, 2011). Here, Plaintiffs allege in their Complaint that they own the patents at issue and that Vitelity is infringing those patents. (Compl. ¶¶ 5, 8, 25-26, 31-32.) Plaintiffs also cite to the applicable federal law - 35 U.S.C. § 271 - and adequately describe the infringing activity. (Id. at 4-5, ¶¶ 12-19.) Among other things, Plaintiffs allege that Vitelity "offers its customers an online fax service including in-bound and out-bound Internet fax." (Id. ¶ 12; see also id. at ¶ 18 ("Through its vFax service, Vitelity offers its customers 'a custom branded vFax portal.'") Plaintiffs further allege that these services infringe their patents. Plaintiffs' allegations are therefore sufficient to meet the pleading standard for patent infringement.

B. Personal Jurisdiction

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2) provides that a court may dismiss a suit for lack of personal jurisdiction. The plaintiff has the burden of establishing that jurisdiction exists, but need only make "a prima facie showing of jurisdictional facts to withstand the motion to dismiss." Pebble Beach Co. v. Caddy, 453 F.3d 1151, 1154 (9th Cir. 2006). "[U]ncontroverted allegations in [the plaintiff's] complaint must be taken as true, and conflicts between the facts contained in the parties' ...


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