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Canon, Inc. v. Avigilon USA Corporation, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

November 20, 2019

Canon, Inc., Plaintiff,
v.
Avigilon USA Corporation Inc. et al, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM & ORDER

          Nathaniel M. Gorton, United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Canon Inc. (“plaintiff” or “Canon”) alleges that defendants Avigilon USA Corporation and Avigilon Corporation (collectively “defendants” or “Avigilon”) are liable for direct, induced and willful infringement of one of Canon's patents for transmitting video data.

         Pending before the Court is a motion by Avigilon to dismiss the induced infringement and willful infringement allegations under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). For the reasons that follow, that motion will be allowed and the subject claims will be dismissed without prejudice.

         I. Background

         Avigilon Corporation is a Canadian corporation with a principal place of business in Vancouver, British Columbia. Avigilon USA Corporation Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Avigilon, is a Delaware corporation with a principal place of business in Texas and a regional office in Massachusetts. Avigilon designs, develops and manufactures video surveillance systems, cameras and related products. Canon is a Japanese corporation which designs and manufactures a variety of electronics, including cameras and related products.

         Canon is the owner of United States Patent Number 10, 135, 952 (“the '952 patent”) which was issued on November 20, 2018. The '952 patent, entitled “Method and Corresponding Device for Streaming Video Data” relates to a method of transmitting web-accessed, compressed videos.

         Canon filed its complaint on April 23, 2019, and alleges direct infringement, induced infringement and willful infringement. It claims that Avigilon has indirectly infringed the '952 patent by inducing its customers to directly infringe. In essence, the complaint alleges that a feature in Avigilon's accused products infringes the '952 patent and that Avigilon instructs its customers to use that feature in an infringing manner. Canon contends that Avigilon had prior knowledge of the '952 patent and that circumstantial evidence demonstrates Avigilon's intent to induce infringement by its customers. Moreover, Canon asserts that defendant's alleged infringement was willful.

         Avigilon has moved to dismiss Canon's claims for induced and willful infringement because they contain only conclusory allegations.

         II. Defendants' Motion to Dismiss

         A. Legal Standard

         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

         1. ...


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