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Handi Quilter, Inc. v. Gracewood Management, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Utah

March 7, 2017

HANDI QUILTER, INC., a Delaware corporation, Plaintiff/Counterclaim Defendant,
v.
GRACEWOOD MANAGEMENT, INC., a Utah corporation, Defendant/Counterclaim Plaintiff.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS

          Ted Stewart United States District Judge

         This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff/Counterclaim Defendant Handi Quilter, Inc.'s Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings as to Defendant's Claim for Pre-Issuance Damages. For the reasons discussed below, the Court will deny the Motion.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On October 26, 2016, Plaintiff filed its Complaint seeking declaratory judgment that its products do not infringe Defendant's patent (the “‘151 patent”). In its Amended Complaint, Plaintiff added a cause of action for invalidity. Defendant filed an Answer and Counterclaim against Plaintiff. In its Counterclaim, Defendant asserts a cause of action for pre-issuance damages under 35 U.S.C. § 154(d). Plaintiff seeks dismissal of Defendant's claim for pre-issuance damages.

         II. MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS STANDARD

         Plaintiff seeks judgment on the pleadings under Rule 12(c). The Court applies the same standards in evaluating motions under Rule 12(b)(6) and Rule 12(c).[1]

         In considering a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted under Rule 12(b)(6), all well-pleaded factual allegations, as distinguished from conclusory allegations, are accepted as true and viewed in the light most favorable to Defendant as the nonmoving party.[2] Defendant must provide “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face, ”[3] which requires “more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully harmed-me accusation.”[4] “A pleading that offers ‘labels and conclusions' or ‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.' Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders ‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further factual enhancement.'”[5]

         “The court's function on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion is not to weigh potential evidence that the parties might present at trial, but to assess whether the plaintiff's complaint alone is legally sufficient to state a claim for which relief may be granted.”[6] As the Court in Iqbal stated,

only a complaint that states a plausible claim for relief survives a motion to dismiss. Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief will . . . be a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense. But where the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged-but it has not shown-that the pleader is entitled to relief.[7]

         In considering a motion to dismiss, a district court not only considers the complaint, “but also the attached exhibits, ”[8] and “documents incorporated into the complaint by reference, and matters of which a court may take judicial notice.”[9] The Court “may consider documents referred to in the complaint if the documents are central to the plaintiff's claim and the parties do not dispute the documents' authenticity.”[10]

         III. DISCUSSION

         35 U.S.C. § 154(d) states:

(1) In addition to other rights provided by this section, a patent shall include the right to obtain a reasonable royalty from any person who, during the period beginning on the date of publication of the application for such patent . . .
(A)(i) makes, uses, offers for sale, or sells in the United States the invention as claimed in the published patent application or imports such an ...

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