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My Sweet Petunia v. Stampin' Up Inc.

United States District Court, D. Utah

April 23, 2019

MY SWEET PETUNIA, Plaintiff,
v.
STAMPIN' UP, INC., Defendant. STAMPIN' UP, INC., Counterclaimant,
v.
MY SWEET PETUNIA, INC., Counterclaim Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS

          TED STEWART UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant's Motion to Dismiss.[1] Defendant seeks the dismissal of Counts III, VI, and IX of the First Amended Complaint. For the reasons discussed below, the Court will deny the Motion.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff filed this patent infringement action on October 11, 2018. Plaintiff is the owner by assignment of U.S. Patent No. 9, 731, 531 (“the '531 Patent”), U.S. Patent No. 9, 925, 812 (“the '812 Patent”), and U.S. Patent No. 9, 931, 875 (“the '875 Patent”) (collectively, the “Patents-in-Suit”). The patents

are generally directed to a novel stamping tool for craftwork that includes a base with gridlines, a workspace, two magnets that are attracted to ferromagnetic material disposed below the workspace, a widthwise rigid raised side portion bordering the workspace, a lengthwise rigid raised side portion bordering the workspace and disposed approximately 90 degrees to the widthwise rigid raised side portion, a widthwise ruler, a lengthwise ruler, a removable foam pad, and a cover portion with gridlines pivotably attached to the base. . . .
The inventions to which the Patents-in-Suit are directed enable a user to apply an ink stamp to a particular location on cardstock or other stampable substrate by placing the cardstock on the workspace against the widthwise and lengthwise rigid raised side portions, placing the magnets over the cardstock, placing the ink stamp on the interior face of the cover portion opposite the workspace, and moving the cover portion toward the workspace as one would turn a page of a book.[2]

         Plaintiff alleges that Defendant's product—the Stamparatus—infringes certain claims of the Patents-in-Suit. Plaintiff's Amended Complaint asserts claims for direct infringement, induced infringement, and contributory infringement of all three Patents-in-Suit. Defendant seeks dismissal of the claims for contributory infringement.

         II. MOTION TO DISMISS STANDARD

         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 Plaintiff as the nonmoving party.[3] Plaintiff must provide “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face, ”[4] which requires “more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.”[5] “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.'”[6]

         “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.”[7] As the Court in Iqbal stated,

[o]nly 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.[8]

         In considering a motion to dismiss, a district court not only considers the complaint, “but also the attached exhibits, ”[9] the “documents incorporated into the complaint by reference, and matters of which a court may take judicial notice.”[10] 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.”[11]

         III. DISCUSSION

         “Contributory infringement occurs if a party sells or offers to sell, a material or apparatus for use in practicing a patented process, and that ‘material or apparatus' is material to practicing the invention, has no substantial non-infringing uses, and is known by the party ‘to be especially made or especially adapted for use in an infringement of such patent.'”[12] “To state a claim for contributory infringement, therefore, a plaintiff must, among other things, plead facts that allow an inference that the components sold or offered for sale have no substantial non-infringing uses.”[13] “In the context of a claim of contributory infringement under § 271(c), a substantial non-infringing use is any use that is ‘not unusual, far-fetched, illusory, impractical, occasional, aberrant, or ...


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