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Motorola Solutions, Inc. v. Hytera Communications Corporation Ltd.

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

August 12, 2019

MOTOROLA SOLUTIONS, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
HYTERA COMMUNICATIONS CORPORATION LTD., et al. Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          John Robert Blakey, United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Motorola Solutions, Inc. sues Defendants Hytera Communications Corporation Ltd. (Hytera Corporation) and Hytera Communications America West Inc. (Hytera West) for patent infringement. [78]. Defendants jointly move to dismiss Plaintiff's amended complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(3) for improper venue as to Hytera West, and Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim as to Hytera Corporation. [80]. For the reasons explained below, this Court denies Defendants' motion.

         I. Background[1]

         Plaintiff, an Illinois company, maintains its principal place of business in Chicago, Illinois. [78] ¶ 12. Hytera Corporation is a Chinese company with its principal place of business in Shenzhen, China. Id. ¶¶ 3, 13. Hytera Corporation established Hytera West as a California subsidiary in 2016. Id. ¶¶ 8, 14. Plaintiff researches, invents, and provides radio equipment and infrastructure technologies, including two-way digital radio products, technologies, and supporting infrastructure and systems. Id. ¶¶ 1, 31.

         Plaintiff's claims concern six patents: (1) U.S. Patent No. 6, 591, 111 (the ‘111 Patent), id. ¶ 54; (2) U.S. Patent No. 7, 369, 869 (the ‘869 Patent), id. ¶ 42; (3) U.S. Patent No. 7, 729, 701 (the ‘701 Patent), id. ¶ 45; (4) U.S. Patent No. 8, 032, 169 (the ‘169 Patent), id. ¶ 39; (5) U.S. Patent No. 8, 279, 991 (the ‘991 Patent), id. ¶ 48; and (6) U.S. Patent No. 9, 099, 972 (the ‘972 Patent), id. ¶ 51. Plaintiff constitutes the sole owner of each patent (collectively, the Patents). Id. ¶¶ 37, 40, 43, 46, 49, 52, 55.

         Plaintiff alleges that Hytera Corporation specifically intended to infringe the Patents by “luring away” three of Plaintiff's senior engineers. Id. ¶¶ 5, 20. Plaintiff asserts that Hytera Corporation induced these engineers to infringe because: (1) they had direct familiarity with Plaintiff's innovations and technologies related to the Patents; and (2) in their final days of employment with Plaintiff, they downloaded at least 7, 000 technical, marketing, sales, and legal documents related to the Patents. Id. According to Plaintiff, Hytera Corporation then relied upon and copied patented information from these documents in creating its own digital mobile radio (DMR) products. Id. ¶¶ 4, 5, 9, 21. Finally, Plaintiff alleges that Hytera Corporation infringed the Patents by directly-and/or indirectly, through subsidiaries, divisions, groups, or distributors-advertising, marketing, offering for sale, importing for sale, and/or selling the infringing DMR products. Id. ¶ 17.

         Similarly, Plaintiff alleges that Hytera West directly-and/or indirectly through subsidiaries, divisions, groups, or distributers-infringed the Patents by advertising, marketing, offering for sale, importing for sale, and/or selling the infringing DMR products in this District. Id. ¶ 24. Plaintiff also asserts that Hytera West employs one salesperson and at least three other employees in its Schaumburg, Illinois warehouse and repair facility. Id. ¶¶ 25, 29.

         II. Legal Standard

         To survive a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a complaint must provide a “short and plain statement of the claim” showing that the pleader merits relief, Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), so the defendant has “fair notice” of the claim “and the grounds upon which it rests, ” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47, 78 S.Ct. 99, 2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1957)). A complaint must also contain “sufficient factual matter” to state a facially plausible claim to relief-one that “allows the court to draw the reasonable inference” that the defendant committed the alleged misconduct. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). This plausibility standard “asks for more than a sheer possibility” that a defendant acted unlawfully. Williamson v. Curran, 714 F.3d 432, 436 (7th Cir. 2013).

         In evaluating a complaint under Rule 12(b)(6), this Court accepts all well pleaded allegations as true and draws all reasonable inferences in the plaintiffs favor. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. This Court does not, however, accept a complaint's legal conclusions as true. Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574, 581 (7th Cir. 2009).

         With respect to venue, the plaintiff bears the burden of establishing that venue is proper in a given case. Bartlett v. Bartlett, No. 16 CV 6595, 2017 WL 106043, at *1 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 11, 2017) (citing Grantham v. Challenge-Cook Bros., Inc., 420 F.2d 1182, 1184 (7th Cir. 1969)). In assessing venue for a 12(b)(3) motion, however, courts take the plaintiff's allegations as true and resolve factual conflicts in the plaintiff's favor. RAH Color Techs., LLC v. Quad/Graphics, Inc., No. 17 C 4931, 2018 WL 439210, at *1 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 16, 2018) (citing Deb v. SIRVA, Inc., 832 F.3d 800, 809 (7th Cir. 2016) and Faulkenberg v. CB Tax Franchise Sys., LP, 637 F.3d 801, 809-10 (7th Cir. 2011)).

         III. Analysis

         A. Venue Is Proper As To Hytera West

         In TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Food Group Brands LLC, 137 S.Ct. 1514 (2017), the Supreme Court held that the patent venue statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1400(b), serves as the exclusive venue provision for patent infringement cases. Id. at 1517. Under Section 1400(b), plaintiffs may bring an action for patent infringement either: (1) in the judicial district where the defendant resides; or (2) where the defendant has ...


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