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Voxx International Corp. v. Johnson Safety, Inc.

United States District Court, C.D. California

May 2, 2017

VOXX INTERNATIONAL CORP.; and ROSEN ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEMS, LLP, Plaintiffs,
v.
JOHNSON SAFETY, INC., Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS [31]

          OTIS D. WRIGHT, II UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This case is an action for patent infringement brought by Plaintiff Voxx International Corporation (“Voxx”) and Rosen Entertainment Systems, LLP (“Rosen”) against Defendant Johnson Safety, Inc. (“Johnson”). (First Am. Compl. (“FAC”) ¶¶ 1-4, ECF No. 24.) The case originated in the Southern District of Indiana. (See id.) While the case was in that district, Johnson filed a motion to dismiss some of Voxx's claims and to transfer the case to the Central District of California. (ECF No. 31.) The Indiana court granted Johnson's motion to transfer and transferred the case to this Court on January 17, 2017. (ECF No. 47.) Johnson's motion to dismiss remained pending after the transfer.[1] (See id.) For the reasons discussed below, the Court GRANTS the motion.

         II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         Voxx claims that Johnson's products infringe seven patents. (FAC ¶¶ 19-46.) The products involved in this suit-both the patented products and the accused products-are all models of video systems for vehicles. Voxx owns three of the asserted patents, and Rosen owns the other four but licenses them to Voxx (“the Rosen Patents”). (See id.) Voxx states in the FAC that it joins Rosen as a party plaintiff because “[i]t is possible that [Johnson] would be exposed to suit from Rosen if not joined herein.” (Id. ¶ 18.)

         Voxx alleges that it is the “exclusive licensee” of the Rosen Patents. (Id. ¶ 15.) Further, Voxx claims that its exclusive license permits it to enforce the Rosen Patents through litigation and to initiate suit in Rosen's name or to join Rosen in such suit. (Id. ¶ 16.)

         The license in question is a Patent License Agreement (“PLA”) between Voxx and Rosen. (See PLA, Ex. A, ECF No. 32-1.) It gives Voxx a license of the Rosen Patents exclusive to making and selling products for original equipment manufacturers of vehicles (“OEMs”) and suppliers who directly or indirectly supply services or products to and for an OEM (“Tier Suppliers”). (Id. at 1.) The license is explicitly non-exclusive to and for entities other than OEMs and Tier Suppliers. (Id.) In addition, Rosen retains the right to sell products covered by the relevant patents to Land Rover Corporation, USA (“Land Rover”). (Id. at 4.)

         III. DISCUSSION

         Johnson asserts two bases for dismissing portions of Voxx's FAC: (1) lack of standing as to the Rosen Patents; and (2) failure to state a claim on which relief can be granted.

         A. Standing

         Johnson moves to dismiss Voxx's claims for lack of standing only with respect to the Rosen Patents.

         1. Legal Standard

         Standing is a requirement in order for a federal court to hear a plaintiff's claim. Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 555 (1992). Standing pertains to subject matter jurisdiction and is thus properly raised in a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1). White v. Lee, 227 F.3d 1214, 1242 (9th Cir. 2000). “In resolving a factual attack on jurisdiction, the district court may review evidence beyond the complaint without converting the motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment.” Safe Air for Everyone v. Meyer, 373 F.3d 1035, 1039 (9th Cir. 2004).

         The plaintiff bears the burden of demonstrating that it meets both constitutional and prudential standing requirements. Visioneer, Inc. v. KeyScan, Inc., 626 F.Supp.2d 1018, 1023 (N.D. Cal. 2009). Constitutionally, a party invoking federal jurisdiction must show that it has suffered an “injury in fact, ” defined as the invasion of a legally protected interest which is (1) concrete and particularized and (2) actual or imminent. Lujan, 504 U.S. at 560. The prudential requirement for standing is that “the plaintiff generally must assert his own legal rights and ...


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