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Chief Judge Sleet: Complaints Patterned After Form 18 Still Acceptible Post-Iqbal

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Chief Judge Sleet recently issued an opinion on a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss in Mark IV Industries Corp. v. Transcore, L.P., C.A. No. 09-418-GMS (D. Del. Dec. 2, 2009). Defendant Transcore moved to dismiss Mark IV’s complaint based mainly on Mark IV’s failure to adequately plead its infringement claims under Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937 (2009), because the complaint “lacks sufficient specificity and factual support.” Id. at 4.

Transcore argued that Iqbal overrode previous Federal Circuit precedent holding that a complaint need only cite the asserted patent as a whole, and not each element of the claims of the asserted patent, and that “a plaintiff is not required to plead specifics as to how an allegedly infringing product works.” Id. at 5-6. The Court disagreed, and held that the Federal Circuit precedent remains valid after Iqbal, and that complaints that comply with FRCP Form 18 (setting out the structure of an infringement complaint) are still sufficient. Id. at 6-7.

Transcore also included allegations that the complaint was brought in bad faith (the Court found no bad faith), and that the suit was precluded by a prior agreement between the parties that contained a mediation provision. Id. at 7. The Court held that a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss was not the proper “avenue[] of attack” such a provision, but kindly directed Transcore towards “a Rule 7(a) counterclaim and a motion to compel” instead. Id. at fn. 1.

Mark IV Industries Corp. v. Transcore, L.P., C.A. No. 09-418-GMS (D. Del. Dec. 2, 2009)

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