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Vasudevan Software, Inc v. Tibco Software Inc

May 17, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Richard Seeborg United States District Judge



Defendant TIBCO Software Inc. moves to dismiss plaintiff Vasudevan Software, Inc.'s (VSi) claims for inducement and willful infringement in this patent case. TIBCO argues that VSi 18 has inadequately plead those claims under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). VSi opposes 19 the motion. In consideration of the pleadings, the arguments raised at the hearing, and for all the 20 reasons set forth below, TIBCO's motion to dismiss must be granted, but with leave to amend. 21


VSi's First Amended Complaint (FAC) alleges TIBCO's Spotfire Platform infringes U.S. Patent No. 7,167,864 ("the '864 patent"), which was issued on January 23, 2007 for an invention 24 entitled "Multimedia Inspection Database System" (MIDaS). TIBCO acquired Spotfire Inc. in June 25 2007, and with it, the Spotfire Platform. The FAC asserts direct and indirect infringement, in the 26 form of inducement. In support of the latter, VSi alleges TIBCO is "inducing its customers to 27 directly infringe the '864 Patent by providing its customers and others with detailed explanations, 28 instructions, and information as to arrangements, applications, and use of its TIBCO Spotfire

Platform products that promote and demonstrate how to use those products in an infringing 2 manner." FAC ¶ 11. VSi avers it "demonstrated its patented software MIDaS to Spotfire in 2005 3 and notified Spotfire MIDaS was covered by U.S. Patent No. 6,877,006 ('the '006 Patent')." Id. 4

The '864 patent asserted in this case is a continuation of the '006 patent. In "early 2006," according 5 to the FAC, VSi made a "similar presentation" of its MIDaS software to TIBCO. Id. During that 6 presentation, VSi allegedly notified TIBCO that MIDaS was covered by the '006 patent and another 7 pending continuation patent application that later issued as the '864 patent.*fn1 Id. Finally, VSi pleads 8 that TIBCO had actual knowledge of the '864 patent at least by December 23, 2011, the date this 9 suit was filed. 10

portfolio, the FAC asserts TIBCO knew or should have known that its actions induced its customers to infringe directly the '864 patent. Id. On these same factual predicates, VSi also alleges willful 13 and deliberate infringement. Id. at ¶ 12. In the alternative, VSi maintains TIBCO was willfully 14 blind to its alleged infringement, and that of its customers, based on its purported knowledge of 15

VSi's patent portfolio. In support of this allegation, VSi avers TIBCO was familiar with the 16 functionality of the MIDaS software, and similarities between that product and its own Spotfire 17 Platform. According to the FAC, TIBCO nonetheless took unspecified actions to blind itself to the 18 risk of infringement. Id. at ¶ 13.

A complaint must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader 21 is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). While "detailed factual allegations are not required," 22 such a complaint must have sufficient factual allegations to "state a claim to relief that is plausible 23 on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 24

550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content 25 that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct 26 alleged." Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556-67).Such a determination is a context-specific 27


On the premise that TIBCO was thus put on notice of the '864 patent and VSi's patent


task requiring the court "to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Id. at 1950.A 2 claim may be dismissed under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) based on the "lack of a 3 cognizable legal theory" or on "the absence of sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal 4 theory." Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). When evaluating 5 such a motion, the court must accept all material allegations in the complaint as true, even if 6 doubtful, and construe them in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Twombly, 550 7

U.S. at 570. "Conclusory allegations of law and unwarranted inferences of fact do not suffice to 8 support a claim." Bradley v. Chiron Corp., 136 F.3d 1317, 1322 (Fed. Cir. 1998). 9

10 place the alleged infringer on notice as to what he must defend." McZeal v. Sprint Nextel Corp., 501 F.3d 1354, 1357 (Fed. Cir. 2007). Thus, for example, a patentee is not required to include specifically each element of the claims of the asserted patent in its complaint for infringement. 13 Phonometrics, Inc. v. Hospitality Franchise Sys., Inc., 203 F.3d 790, 794 (Fed. Cir. 2000); 14 2008). When dismissing a complaint, leave to amend must be granted unless it is clear that the 16 complaint's deficiencies cannot be cured by amendment. Lucas v. Dep't of Corrections, 66 F.3d 17


To state a claim for patent infringement, the "patentee need only plead facts sufficient to

FotoMedia Techs., LLC v. AOL, LLC, No. C 07-0255, 2008 WL 4135906, at *1 (E.D. Tex. Aug. 29, 15 ...

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