The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge James B. Zagel
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff Thomas Simonian ("Simonian" or "Relator") is a resident of Geneva, Illinois, who has taken it upon himself to file this qui tam action on behalf of the public for false patent marking under 35 U.S.C. § 292. Defendant Bunn-O-Matic ("Bunn" or "Defendant") is a Delaware corporation that is a leading producer of coffee makers worldwide. Relator Simonian asserts that Defendant Bunn has violated 35 U.S.C. § 292(a) by marking a number of its coffee makers with expired United States Patent Numbers, most of which have been expired for over 20 years.*fn1
Bunn has moved to dismiss Simonian's suit pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6).
A motion to dismiss brought pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) challenges the sufficiency of the complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. In considering such a motion, the court must accept as true all well-pleaded factual allegations in the complaint and draw all reasonable inferences from those facts in favor of the relator. Dixon v. Page, 291 F.3d 485, 486 (7th Cir. 2002). To be sufficiently pled, the complaint need only contain a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2).
That being said, the pleading standard demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed. 2d 929 (2007)). Thus, a complaint will not suffice if it makes "naked assertions devoid of further factual enhancement." Iqbal at 1949.
A motion based on standing pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) is subject to the same pleading standard. Freiburger v. Emery Air Charter, Inc., 795 F. Supp. 253, 256-57 (N.D. Ill. 1992)(citations omitted). Furthermore, the relator bears the burden of establishing that he meets the requirements of standing. Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 561 (1992). In order to demonstrate standing, the relator must show first that he has suffered an "injury in fact" -- an invasion of a legally protected interest which is both (a) concrete and particularized, and (b) actual or imminent, not 'conjectural' or 'hypothetical.' Id. at 560 (internal citations omitted). Second, there must be a causal connection between the injury and the conduct complained of -- the injury has to be fairly traceable to the challenged action of the defendant. Id. Finally, "it must be 'likely,' as opposed to merely 'speculative,' that the injury will be 'redressed by a favorable decision.'" Id. at 561 (internal citations omitted).
B. Qui Tam Causes of Action
Qui tam is short for the Latin phrase qui tam pro domino rege Guam pro se ipso in hac parte sequitur, which means 'who pursues this action on our Lord the King's behalf as well as his own.' The phrase dates from at least the time of Blackstone. See 3 W. Blackstone, Commentaries *160.
Vt. Agency of Natural Res. v. United States ex. rel. Stevens, 529 U.S. 765, 768 n.1 (2000).
C. The False Marking Statute
35 U.S.C. § 292 states, in ...