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Lifetime Industries, Inc. v. Trim-Lok Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division

September 30, 2016

LIFETIME INDUSTRIES, INC., Plaintiff
v.
TRIM-LOK, INC., Defendant

          OPINION AND ORDER

          Robert L. Miller, Jr. Judge

         Defendant Trim-Lok, Inc.'s motion to dismiss the second amended complaint is before the court. For the following reasons, the court grants the motion.

         The second amended complaint, like its predecessors, contains claims for direct infringement, induced infringement, and contributory infringement of Lifetime Industries, Inc.'s ‘590 Patent (U.S. Patent No. 6, 966, 590) in violation of 35 U.S.C. §§ 271(a), (b), and (c). Trim-Lok moved to dismiss because Lifetime Industries hasn't cured the defects in its prior complaints.

         I. Standard of Review

         When considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the court construes the complaint in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, accepts all well-pleaded facts as true, and draws all inferences in the nonmoving party's favor. Reynolds v. CB Sports Bar, Inc., 623 F.3d 1143, 1146 (7th Cir. 2010). But Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2) “demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant- unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)(citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). “To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570); see also Morrison v. YTB Int'l, Inc., 649 F.3d 533, 538 (7th Cir. 2011); Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574, 581 (7th Cir. 2009). A claim is plausible if “the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556); Mann v. Vogel, 707 F.3d 872, 877 (7th Cir. 2013); Swanson v. Citibank, N.A., 614 F.3d 400, 404 (7th Cir. 2010) (“the plaintiff must give enough details about the subject-matter of the case to present a story that holds together.”). “[L]egal conclusions or conclusory allegations that merely recite a claim's elements” are not entitled to any presumption of truth. Munson v. Gaetz, 673 F.3d 630, 632 (7th Cir. 2012). See also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (“Threadbare recital of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.”). Twombly and Iqbal “require the plaintiff to provid[e] some specific facts to support the legal claims asserted in the compliant.” McCauley v. City of Chicago, 671 F.3d 611, 616 (7th Cir. 2011). The plaintiff “must give enough details about the subject-matter of the case to present a story that hold together, ” and “may elaborate on [its] factual allegation so long as the new elaborations are consistent with the pleadings.” Id.

         II. Discussion

         Briefly summarized, the second amended complaint alleges that:

         (1) LTI owns a patent for a “two-part seal for a slide-out room” on a mobile living quarters (“RV”) - U.S. Patent No. 6, 966, 590 (the “‘590 patent”). [Doc. Nos. 32 at ¶¶ 9-11 and 32-1 (Exh. A)].

         (2) The LTI seals are marketed under the name EK-Seal and KE-Seal, and “include a mounting portion and a separate bulb portion that is slidably connected to the mounting portion.” [Doc. No. 32 at ¶ 13].

         (3) Trim-Lok also makes, sells, and offers for sale “a two part seal” (the “Accused Product”) specifically for use with an RV with a slide-out room, without authorization by LTI. [Doc. Nos. 32 at ¶¶ 14, 20, 24, 26-27, 34 and 32-2 (Exh. B)].[1]

         (4) Trim-Lok “gained knowledge of LTI's patent from at least one former LTI employee (Andrew Busch and/or Daryl Torrey) before June, 2013”. [Doc. No. 32 at ¶¶ 17-19].

         (5) “In or around June 2013", Trim-Lok infringed on “at least one claim of the ‘590 patent”, in violation of 35 U.S.C. § 271(a), by “making, using, offering for sale, and selling” its two-part seal to at least one RV manufacturer, Forest River; “assist[ing] with the installation, direct[ing] the installation, or directly install[ing] [a Trim-Lok seal] on an RV at Forest River”; and “combining the Accused Product with RVs having slide-out rooms”, without authorization by LTI. [Doc. No. 32 at ¶¶ 14-15, 20, 24, and 26-33].

         (6) Ed Ksiezopolski, a LTI representative, discovered that a the Trim-Lok seal had been installed on one of Forest River's RVs during a visit to Forest River's Elkhart, Indiana manufacturing plant in June 2013. [Doc. No. 32 at ¶ 16].

         (7) On July 12, 2013, LTI sent a cease and desist letter notifying Trim-Lok that: it was infringing on LTI's ‘590 patent by “selling a seal that [was] covered by the ‘590 patent”; “further sales of the seal [would] constitute willful infringement”; and Trim-Lok was required to immediately discontinue “all infringing product” and to account for “all sales made to date of products practicing the inventions which is the ...


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