IOT sued SimpliSafe in February, accusing SimpliSafe of infringing seventeen patents covering an array of things relating to remote communications with smart devices. IOT asserts these patents against a variety of SimpliSafe products and services, including alarm systems, base stations, keypads, mobile apps, subscription services, wireless accessories such as cameras and doorbells and the like. SimpliSafe moved to dismiss, saying that the complaint failed to provide any allegations that applied each limitation of a claim to specific elements of an accused product, thus failing to meet the Iqbal/Twombly pleading requirements.
Judge Stearns denied SimpliSafe’s motion to dismiss, stating that such element-by-element pleadings are not required (citing to the Federal Circuit’s 2021 Bot M8 LLC v. Sony Corp. of America decision) and holding that the complaint pleads enough factual matter to plausibly show infringement and to put SimpliSafe on notice of the activities complained of. Judge Stearns further found that the complaint sufficiently pled factual elements for the indirect infringement counts. SimpliSafe asserted that there were no pleadings of actual knowledge of the patents or of infringement, no allegations of a specific intent to infringe, and no allegations of a lack of non-infringing uses, but Judge Stearns determined that the allegations of willful blindness to infringement (SimpliSafe is alleged to have a blanket policy of not reviewing patents of its competitors), along with the specific allegations that SimpliSafe instructs and advertises use of its products in an infringing manner suffice for these counts, at least at the pleading stage. Finally, he upheld the willfulness allegation, noting that at the pleading stage, the complaint need allege no more than knowledge of the patents and continued sale of the products. He further noted that if specific intent were a required element, the willful blindness allegation would support the willfulness charge.
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