In yet another case in the District of Connecticut, Protegrity has seen its claims for indirect and willful infringement dismissed because, according to the court, its complaint did not plead sufficient facts. District Judge Robert Chatigny granted AJB Software’s motion to dismiss, agreeing with AJB that the “bare bones” allegations in Protegrity’s complaint were insufficient for pleading induced, contributory, and willful infringement. AJB did not challenge the sufficiency of the pleadings for Pretegrity’s direct infringement claim. This ruling follows District Judge Vanessa Bryant’s 2014 order dismissing the same claims against Paymetric, Inc. in Protegrity Corporation v. Paymetric, Inc. for largely the same reasons.
The relevant portion in Protegrity’s complaint was the same as that at issue in Paymetric, providing as follows:
Upon information and belief, Defendant has directly or contributorily infringed or induced the infringement of the claims of [patent] by having made, used or sold database security systems that duly embody the invention as claimed herein; such infringement was willful and deliberate . . . .
Applying the standard provided by Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), and Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), Judge Chatigny found the complaint, on its face, failed to state a plausible claim for indirect and willful infringement. Beginning with induced infringement, the Court found the factual allegations did not support inferring that AJB “knowingly induced infringement and possessed specific intent to encourage another’s infringement.” Similarly, the Court found that the allegations did not support a claim for contributory infringement. In particular, the Court found that the factual allegations in the complaint did not support inferring that AJB knew about Protegrity’s patents; AJB’s product has no substantial non-infringing uses; or AJB knew its products were made or adapted for use in infringing the patents. Finally, Judge Chatigny dismissed Protegrity’s willfulness claim because Protegrity failed to even allege that AJB had knowledge of the patents.
This case, along with Paymetric, illustrates that complaints reciting bare causes of action or conclusions for indirect and willful infringement, without supporting factual allegations, are vulnerable to motions to dismiss.
The case is Protegrity Corporation v. AJB Software Design, Inc., Civil Action No. 3:13-CV-01484-RNC, in the District of Connecticut. The court’s order can be found here.