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Panduit Corp. v. Corning Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division

November 7, 2019

PANDUIT CORP., Plaintiff,
v.
CORNING INCORPORATED, Defendant.

          ORDER

          LOUISE W. FLANAGAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the court on defendant's motion to dismiss plaintiff's amended complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (DE 44). The issues raised have been fully briefed, and in this posture are ripe for ruling. For the reasons that follow, the court denies defendant's motion.

         STATEMENT OF THE CASE

         On February 7, 2018, plaintiff, owner of United States Patent Numbers 8, 351, 027 (“'027 patent”) and 8, 488, 115 (“'115 patent”), both entitled “Method and Metric for Selecting and Designing Multimode Fiber for Improved Performance, ” initiated this suit asserting claims against defendant Corning Optical Communications LLC, for patent infringement, induced infringement, and contributory infringement in violation of 35 U.S.C. § 271(a), (b), and (c), respectively, in the district court for the Western District of North Carolina.[1] The parties successfully moved three times for order granting motion for extension of time for defendant to file answer and then filed joint motion to transfer to this district, which transfer occurred on May 23, 2018.

         That same day this case transferred to the Eastern District, defendant filed its first motion to dismiss plaintiff's complaint for failure to state a claim. The court granted defendant's motion, dismissing plaintiff's claims without prejudice because plaintiff failed to plausibly allege that some activity by defendant performs a “selection” of fibers “for use a communications network” using the three steps of plaintiff's patented method. With leave of court, plaintiff filed an amended complaint. Thereafter, defendant filed its second motion to dismiss, arguing that plaintiff's amended complaint suffers from the same defects that warranted dismissal of plaintiff's original complaint.

         STATEMENT OF THE FACTS

         The facts alleged in plaintiff's amended complaint are summarized as follows. The United States Patent and Trademark Office issued the '027 patent on January 8, 2013, and the '115 patent on July 16, 2014, both of which relate to innovate methods using new and useful techniques for selecting multimode optical fiber. Both patents share the same description of the invention and have largely identical claims, with both patents including one method claim, reciting a “method for selecting multimode optical fiber.” More specifically, the '115 patent claims as follows:

1. A method for selecting multimode optical fiber for use in a communications network, said method comprising:
measuring a pulse delay for pulses traveling through different radii of a number of multimode optical fibers:
subtracting the pulse delay at a first radius of each multi mode optical fiber from the pulse delay at a second, larger radius of each multimode fiber; and
choosing for use in the communications network those optical fibers in which the result of subtracting the pulse delay at the first radius from the pulse delay at the second radius is a negative number.
2. The method of claim 1 wherein said first radius is 5µm and said second radius is 19 µm.
3. The method of claim 1 wherein said first radius is 5µm and said second radius is 20 µm.
4. The method of claim 1 wherein said first radius and said second radius are 14 ┬Ám ...

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