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Triune Star, Inc. v. Walt Disney Co.

August 14, 2008

TRIUNE STAR, INC., PLAINTIFF,
v.
THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY, WDIG MOBILE, LLC (D/B/A DISNEY MOBILE), PANTECH & CURITEL COMMUNICATIONS, INC., PANTECH CO.M LTD., PANTECH WIRELESS, INC., LG ELECTRONICS, AND LG ELECTRONICS MOBILECOM USA, INC., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael M. Mihm United States District Judge

ORDER

This matter is now before the Court on a Motion to Dismiss by Defendant The Walt Disney Company ("TWDC"). For the reasons set forth below, TWDC's Motion to Dismiss [#27] is GRANTED.

BACKGROUND

On September 19, 2000, the United States Patent and Trademark Office issued Patent No. 6,122,521 (the "'521 patent") for a "Telecommunications Locating System."*fn1

Plaintiff, Triune Star, Inc. ("Triune"), is the owner of all right, title, and interest in the '521 patent.

Triune alleges that Defendants have infringed the '521 patent by making, having made, using, offering for sale and/or selling cellular telephones embodying the invention of the '521 patent. Such actions were undertaken without authority or license from Triune despite Defendants' knowledge of the '521 patent.

On September 28, 2007, Triune brought this action alleging patent infringement by Defendants. The Complaint seeks a declaration that Defendants have infringed, induced the infringement of, and contributorily infringed the '521 patent in violation of 35 U.S.C. §§ 271(a-c), enjoining further acts of infringement, and other relief. TWDC has now moved to dismiss the Complaint, and this Order follows.

LEGAL STANDARD

Courts have traditionally held that a complaint should not be dismissed unless it appears from the pleadings that the plaintiff could prove no set of facts in support of her claim which would entitle her to relief. See Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41 (1957); Gould v. Artisoft, Inc., 1 F.3d 544, 548 (7th Cir. 1993). Rather, a complaint should be construed broadly and liberally in conformity with the mandate in Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 8(f). More recently, the Supreme Court has phrased this standard as requiring a showing sufficient "to raise a right to relief beyond a speculative level." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1965 (2007).

For purposes of a motion to dismiss, the complaint is construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff; its well-pleaded factual allegations are taken as true, and all reasonably-drawn inferences are drawn in favor of the plaintiff. See Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 268 (1994); Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69 (1984); Lanigan v. Village of East Hazel Crest, 110 F.3d 467 (7th Cir. 1997); M.C.M. Partners, Inc. V. Andrews-Bartlett & Assoc., Inc., 62 F.3d 967, 969 (7th Cir. 1995); Early v. Bankers Life & Cas. Co., 959 F.2d 75 (7th Cir. 1992).

DISCUSSION

TWDC seeks dismissal of the Complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction. The Court has jurisdiction over a defendant "who could be subjected to the jurisdiction of a court of general jurisdiction in the state in which the district court is located." Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(k)(1)(A). Thus, in the present case, this Court can exercise jurisdiction over TWDC only if an Illinois court could exercise jurisdiction. FMC Corp. v. Continental Illinois National Bank, 892 F.2d 1308, 1310 (7th Cir. 1990). The statutory basis for jurisdiction is clear, since the reach of Illinois' long-arm statute, 735 ILCS 5/2-209, was amended to equate with the minimum contact requirements of federal due process in 1989. Id. at 1310-11, n.5. Thus, the inquiry is really whether the exercise of jurisdiction is within constitutional parameters. Dehmlow v. Austin Fireworks, 963 F.2d 941, 945 (7th Cir. 1992); RAR, Inc. V. Turner Diesel Ltd., 107 F.3d 1272, 1275-77 (7th Cir. 1997).

The Due Process Clause protects an individual's liberty interest in not being subject to the binding judgments of a forum with which he has established no meaningful contacts, ties or relations. By requiring that individuals have fair warning that a particular activity may subject [them] to the jurisdiction of a foreign sovereign, the Due Process Clause gives a degree of predictability to the legal system that allows potential defendants to structure their primary conduct with some minimum assurance as to where that conduct will and will not render them liable to suit.

Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 105 S.Ct. 2174, 2181-82 (1985) (internal citations ...


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