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Lippert Components Manufacturing, Inc. v. MOR/RYDE Inc.

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

January 10, 2018

LIPPERT COMPONENTS MANUFACTURING, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
MOR/RYDE, INC., and MORRYDE INTERNATIONAL, INC., Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          ROBERT L. MILLER, JR. JUDGE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.

         Lippert Components Manufacturing, Inc. asks the court to reconsider its ruling granting in part and denying in part MORryde Inc. and MORryde International Inc.'s (collectively MORryde) Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. [Doc. No. 80]. Lippert requests that the court reconsider that ruling to the extent it dismissed Lippert's second amended complaint's induced and contributory infringement claims with prejudice. For the reasons that follow, the court denies the motion to reconsider.

         I. Standard of Review

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b) provides that a court may alter or amend an interlocutory order any time before entry of final judgment. See Moses H. Cone Mem. Hosp. v. Mercury Constr. Corp., 460 U.S. 1, 12 (1983) (“every order short of a final decree is subject to reopening at the discretion of the district judge”). Unlike a motion to reconsider a final judgment, which must meet the requirements of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 59 or 60, “a motion to reconsider an interlocutory order may be entertained and granted as justice requires.” Akzo Coatings, Inc. v. Aigner Corp., 909 F.Supp. 1154, 1160 (N.D. Ind. 1995).

         Reconsideration might be appropriate when the facts or law on which the decision was based change significantly after issuance of the interlocutory order, or when “the [c]ourt has patently misunderstood a party, or has made a decision outside the adversarial issues presented to the [c]ourt by the parties, or has made an error not of reasoning but of apprehension.” Bank of Waunakee v. Rochester Cheese Sales, Inc., 906 F.2d 1185, 1191 (7th Cir. 1990). “These grounds represent extraordinary circumstances, and . . . a motion to reconsider is to be granted only in such extraordinary circumstances . . . Indeed, the court's orders are not mere first drafts, subject to revision and reconsideration at a litigant's pleasure.” United States Securities and Exch. Comm'n v. National Presto Indus., Inc., No. 02-C-5027, 2004 WL 1093390, at *2 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 28, 2004) (internal quotations omitted). Motions to reconsider serve a limited function: “to correct manifest errors of law or fact or to present newly discovered evidence.” Caisse Nationale de Credit Agricole v. CBI Indus., Inc., 90 F.3d 1264, 1269 (7th Cir. 1996). A party seeking reconsideration can't introduce new evidence or legal theories that could have been presented earlier or simply rehash previously rejected arguments. Id.

         II. Discussion

         Lippert asks the court to reconsider its dismissal of the induced and contributory infringement claims in the second amended complaint because: (1) the court erred when it held that Lippert didn't adequately plead MORryde's pre-suit knowledge of the patents-in-suit; (2) the court erred when it held that Lippert didn't adequately plead MORryde's post-suit knowledge of the patents-in-suit; and (3) the court erred when it dismissed Lippert's induced and contributory infringement claims with prejudice.

         A. MORryde's Pre-Suit Knowledge of the Patents-in-suit

         Lippert argues that the court was incorrect in concluding that the second amended complaint didn't adequately allege pre-suit knowledge. First, Lippert contends that the second amended complaint's allegation “since at least 2015 [the d]efendants . . . knew of the [a]sserted [p]atents” meets the pleading requirement for pre-suit knowledge of the patents-in-suit. But Lippert made this argument in its response to MORryde's motion to dismiss and at the hearing on the motion where the court rejected it, holding it was a conclusory allegation. The court declines to address it again. See Caisse Nationale de Credit Agricole v. CBI Indus., Inc., 90 F.3d 1264, 1269 (7th Cir. 1996) (a party seeking reconsideration can't simply rehash previously rejected arguments).

         Lippert also asserts that the court overlooked other factual allegations in the second amended complaint that support its contention that MORryde knew of the patents-in-suit and specifically points to paragraph 21. While the court addressed paragraph 21 when discussing whether the second amended complaint's allegations met the pleading standard, [see Doc. No. 74 at 30], and that alone would allow the court to deny this previously raised and rejected argument, the court will take this opportunity to address Lippert's arguments more fully than it could in its oral ruling.

         Paragraph 21 reads:

On information and belief, [d]efendants, as part and in the course of their business activities, regularly and actively monitor the recreational vehicle industry and competitive intellectual property, such as the [a]sserted [p]atents. On information and belief, [d]efendants knew of the [a]sserted [p]atents, listed at http://www.lci1.com/patent-list, and knew that the Lippert Products practiced the [a]sserted [p]atents.

         [Doc. No. 31 at ¶ 21]. Lippert argues that a plaintiff can sufficiently plead pre-suit knowledge by alleging that Lippert maintained a list of its patents on a website and the parties are competitors who monitor each other's intellectual property.[1] Lippert relies heavily on Trading Techs. Int'l, Inc. v. BCG Partners, Inc. to support this argument, but in that case the court specifically noted that:

The Court does not suggest that competitors may plead knowledge for the purpose of indirect infringement solely by pleading that the competitor would be monitoring the plaintiff's patent filings and any patents issued to it. However, that the litigants are competitors in the same industry is a fact that makes knowledge of the patent at issue ...

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