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Nexus Technologies, Inc. v. Unlimited Power Ltd.

United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division

July 3, 2019

NEXUS TECHNOLOGIES, INC., DANIEL CONTI and BENJAMIN BOMER, Plaintiffs,
v.
UNLIMITED POWER LTD. and CHRISTOPHER J. PETRELLA, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER

          Martin Reidinger United States District judge.

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on Defendants Unlimited Power Ltd. and Christopher J. Petrella's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint [Doc. 11].

         I. BACKGROUND

         On January 9, 2019, the Plaintiffs Nexus Technologies, Inc. (“Nexus”), Daniel Conti (“Conti”), and Benjamin Bomer (“Bomer”) (collectively “Plaintiffs”) filed this civil action against the Defendants Unlimited Power LTD. (“Unlimited Power”) and Christopher J. Petrella (“Petrella”) (collectively “Defendants”) to correct inventorship of U.S. Patent Nos. 9, 865, 903 (“the ‘903 Patent”), 10, 084, 213 (“the ‘213 Patent”), D807, 806 (“the ‘806 Patent”) and D815, 030 (“the ‘030 Patent”) (collectively “the Patents”) under the patent laws of the United States. Specifically, the Plaintiffs claim under 35 U.S.C. § 256 that Plaintiff Conti should be added as an inventor or co-inventor of the ‘903 and ‘213 Patents (Counts I and II); Plaintiff Bomer should be added as an inventor or co-inventor of the ‘816 and ‘030 Patents (Counts III and IV); and Defendant Petrella should be removed as an inventor of the Patents (Counts I-IV). The Plaintiffs also allege that the Defendants are liable for conversion (Count VI), violations of the North Carolina Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act, N.C. G.S. § 75-1.1 et seq., for utilizing unfair methods of competition and unfair and deceptive trade practices (Count V), and unjust enrichment (Count VII).

         The Defendants now seek the dismissal of this action pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, arguing that the Plaintiffs' Complaint fails to state claims upon which relief can be granted. [Doc. 11]. The Plaintiffs have filed an opposition to the Defendants' motion [Doc. 12], to which the Defendants have replied [Doc. 13].

         Having been fully briefed, this matter is ripe for disposition.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         To survive a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), “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. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). To be “plausible on its face, ” a plaintiff must demonstrate more than “a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.

         In reviewing the complaint, the Court must accept the truthfulness of all factual allegations but is not required to assume the truth of “bare legal conclusions.” Aziz v. Alcolac, Inc., 658 F.3d 388, 391 (4th Cir. 2011). “The mere recital of elements of a cause of action, supported only by conclusory statements, is not sufficient to survive a motion made pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6).” Walters v. McMahen, 684 F.3d 435, 439 (4th Cir. 2012).

         Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief is “a context-specific task, ” Francis v. Giacomelli, 588 F.3d 186, 193 (4th Cir. 2009), which requires the Court to assess whether the factual allegations of the complaint are sufficient “to raise the right to relief above the speculative level, ” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. As the Fourth Circuit has explained:

To satisfy this standard, a plaintiff need not forecast evidence sufficient to prove the elements of the claim. However, the complaint must allege sufficient facts to establish those elements. Thus, while a plaintiff does not need to demonstrate in a complaint that the right to relief is probable, the complaint must advance the plaintiff's claim across the line from conceivable to plausible.

Walters, 684 F.3d at 439 (citations and internal quotation marks omitted).

         III. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         Taking the well-pleaded factual allegations of the Complaint as true, the following is a ...


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