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Sunrise Technologies, Inc. v. Cimcon Lighting, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

November 22, 2017

Sunrise Technologies, Inc., Plaintiff,
v.
Cimcon Lighting, Inc., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM & ORDER

          NATHANIEL M. GORTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Sunrise Technologies, Inc. (“plaintiff”) alleges defendant Cimcom Lighting, Inc. (“defendant”) is liable for direct, contributory, induced and willful infringement of one of its patents for a mesh network of wirelessly linked communication nodes mounted on utility poles.

         Defendant has filed this motion to dismiss asserting that plaintiff has not stated claims for any kind of infringement. For the following reasons, defendant's motion to dismiss will be denied, in part, and allowed, in part.

         I. Factual and Procedural Background

         Plaintiff is the assignee of United States Patent No. 7, 825, 793 (“'793 patent”), which was filed in May, 2007, and issued in November, 2010.

         The '793 patent, entitled “Remote Monitoring and Control System, ” is an invention that allows people to monitor and control from afar household and building parameters such as home security settings, fire alarm systems, air conditioning and water heating. The patent is directed toward a communication system that relays information between an end user device and a remote end user via a node mounted on a utility pole, such as a telephone pole.

         In April, 2015, plaintiff filed this action for patent infringement. After this Court allowed several extensions of time to file a responsive pleading, defendant moved to dismiss the complaint in March, 2016. Plaintiff subsequently filed an amended complaint alleging patent infringement under theories of direct, contributory, induced and willful infringement. Defendant's dispositive motion followed.

         II. Defendants' Motion to Dismiss

         A. Legal Standard for a Motion to Dismiss

         To survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), a complaint must contain “sufficient factual matter” to state a claim for relief that is actionable as a matter of law and “plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 667 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A claim is facially plausible if, after accepting as true all non- conclusory factual allegations, the court can draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. Ocasio-Hernandez v. Fortuno-Burset, 640 F.3d 1, 12 (1st Cir. 2011). A court may not disregard properly pled factual allegations even if actual proof of those facts is improbable. Id. Rather, the relevant inquiry focuses on the reasonableness of the inference of liability that the plaintiff is asking the court to draw. Id. at 13.

         When rendering that determination, a court may not look beyond the facts alleged in the complaint, documents incorporated by reference therein and facts susceptible to judicial notice. Haley v. City of Boston, 657 F.3d 39, 46 (1st Cir. 2011).

         B. Application

         Plaintiff alleges one count of “infringement” in its complaint. Both plaintiff and defendant have, however, submitted memoranda presenting arguments with respect to four different kinds of infringement: direct, contributory, induced and willful. Accordingly, the Court will construe the amended complaint as alleging those four causes of action.

         1. Direct Infringement

         a. Legal standard for ...


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