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Judge Robinson Denies Motions to Dismiss Joint and Contributory Infringement Claims, Grants Motions to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction over Japanese Defendant

Judge Robinson has issued another decision denying a motion to dismiss joint and contributory infringement claims. Her Honor found that the plaintiff’s “claims of contributory infringement are facially plausible and provide defendants with adequate notice to satisfy the pleading requirements of Twombly and Iqbal.” Intellectual Ventures I LLC, et al. v. Ricoh Co., Ltd., et al., C.A. No. 13-474-SLR, Memo. Op. at 9 (D. Del. Sept. 12, 2014). Further, “[f]or each patent-in-suit, plaintiffs describe the accused products and include a representative product . . . and assert that ‘these components and apparatuses are not staple articles of commerce suitable for substantial non-infringing use.’” Id. This, Judge Robinson found, was consistent with “Form 18’s liberal pleading requirements which allow plaintiffs to plead that entire product categories infringe the patent-in-suit.” Id. Finally, Consistent with and citing to her prior decision in Walker Digital LLC v. Facebook, Inc., 852 F. Supp. 2d 559, 565 (D. Del. 2012), Judge Robinson found that the complaint “appropriately asserts that defendants had knowledge of its infringement ‘at least through the filing and/or service of this Complaint.’” Id.

The defendants also moved on grounds of lack of personal jurisdiction over one particular defendant, Ricoh Company, Ltd. (RCL), which is a Japanese corporation with a principal place of business in Tokyo. Judge Robinson granted the motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction because the Court had neither general jurisdiction nor “dual jurisdiction” under Delaware’s long-arm statute. Id. at 6-8. General jurisdiction did not exist over RCL because it had not “undertaken any direct acts in Delaware, does not directly sell products in the United States, is not registered to do business in Delaware, has no offices or registered agents in Delaware, and has no control or agency relationship with its U.S.-based subsidiaries.” Id. at 7. Furthermore, the Supreme Court’s recent Daimler v. Bauman decision made clear that general jurisdiction could not exist based on RCL’s relationship with its Delaware-incorporated subsidiaries. Id. Furthermore, the plaintiffs’ argument that there was “dual jurisdiction” was unpersuasive because there was “no evidence in the record that RCL has the requisite intent to sell Ricoh products in Delaware,” including no evidence that RCL’s website allows the direct purchase of Ricoh products. Id. at 7-8. Finally, Judge Robinson declined to allow jurisdictional discovery because “RCL is a Japanese corporation doing business solely in Asia with its subsidiaries” so plaintiffs did not show with a “reasonable particularity the possible existence of the requisite contacts between [the party] and the forum state.” Id. at 8 (internal quotations omitted).

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