United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington
BRIAN R. BLAZER, d/b/a CARPENTER BEE SOLUTIONS, Plaintiff,
CHRISMAN MILL FARMS, LLC, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
C. REEVES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is pending for consideration of Plaintiff Brian
Blazer's (“Blazer”) motion to dismiss
Defendant Chrisman Mill Farms, LLC's (“CMF”)
Amended Counterclaims [Record No. 21] and CMF's motion
for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary
injunction. [Record No. 52] More specifically, CMF seeks an
order requiring Blazer to revoke his takedown notices from
online retailers and forgo further enforcement actions. For
the reasons discussed below, the Court will grant, in part,
and deny, in part Blazer's motion to dismiss. CMF's
motion for injunctive relief will be denied.
owns U.S. Patent No. 8, 375, 624 (“the '624 Patent)
which covers an insect trap meant for carpenter bees. [Record
No. 3-1] In December 2015, CMF began selling traps that
unknown to it allegedly infringed Blazer's patent.
[Record No. 57');">57');">57');">57, p. 3');">p. 3] In light of the allegations of
infringement, CMF obtained a license under the '624
Patent and began selling traps under the license on December,
29, 2015. [Id.] The duration of the agreement was
one year, ending in December 2016. [Id. at p. 2]
Blazer sought to negotiate more favorable terms for a new
contract, but was unsuccessful. As a result, the business
relationship ended and CMF designed a new trap which it
believed did not infringe the '624 Patent. [Id.]
CMF notified Blazer of its intent to begin marketing the new
trap, and provided Blazer the opportunity to object and
provide reasons why he believed the new trap infringed on his
patent. [Id.] From the record before the Court, it
appears that Blazer never articulated to CMF why the trap
infringed his patent and instead filed this suit.
contacted several online retailers in February 2017, alleging
CMF's new trap infringed the '624 Patent. He
contacted Amazon and asserted that CMF's new trap
infringes the claims of the '624 Patent, which caused
Amazon to contact CMF and notify it of the allegations.
[Record No. 52-4] Amazon indicated to CMF that attempts to
relist the new trap prior to resolving the allegations of
patent infringement may result in the removal of CMF's
selling privileges on Amazon. [Id.] In Blazer's
original infringement contentions to Amazon, he wrongly
indicated that the roof of the new trap extended past the top
of the trap to the shelter the entrance. [Record No. 57');">57');">57');">57, pp.
6-7] He later amended his infringement contentions to
correctly note that the roof does not extend past the top and
modified his contentions further. [Id.]
also contacted Etsy.com, Bonanzo.com, and Houzz.com, alleging
that the new trap infringes his patent. Subsequently, all of
the retailors notified CMF of the allegations and indicated
any further attempt to relist the new trap prior to resolving
the allegations of patent infringement would result in the
loss of selling privileges. [Record Nos. 7, 8, 9]
'624 Patent was reissued as RE46, 421
(“RE46421”) on June 6, 2017. [Record No. 52-2]
The reissue patent retains claims 1-12 without amendment, and
adds reissue claims 13- 21. [Id.] Blazer has alleged
that CMF's trap infringes claims 1-4, 7-8, 10, 13-17, and
20-21 of the patent. [Record No. 56, p. 3');">p. 3]
Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the
Court must determine whether the counterclaims state a viable
claim for relief. Simply put, the counterclaims “must
contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 56 U.S. 662');">556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 57');">57');">57');">570 (2007)). The factual allegations must be
sufficient to raise a right to relief above the speculative
level, Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, and permit the
Court to “draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. While a counterclaim need
not contain detailed factual allegations, it must contain
more than an “unadorned, the
Id. “A pleading that offers ‘labels and
conclusions' or a ‘formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action'” is insufficient.
Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
preliminary injunction is an extraordinary equitable measure.
It has been characterized as “one of the most drastic
tools in the arsenal of judicial remedies.” Am.
Civ. Liberties Union of Ky. v. McCreary Cnty., Ky., 354
F.3d 438, 444 (6th Cir. 2003) (internal quotation marks and
citation omitted). For this reason, it should not be extended
to cases which are doubtful or do not come within
well-established principles of law. See id.
Circuit law governs the legal standard applicable to the
question of whether a court should issue a preliminary
injunction in a patent case.” FieldTurf USA, Inc.
v. Astroturf, LLC, 725 F.Supp.2d 609, 613 (E.D. Mich.
2010) (citing Mikohn Gaming Corp. v. Acres
Gaming, Inc., 165 F.3d 891, 894 n. 3 (Fed. Cir.
1998)). “To obtain a preliminary injunction, a party
must show (1) reasonable likelihood of success on the merits;
(2) irreparable harm; (3) that the balance of hardships tips
in its favor; and (4) the impact of the injunction on the
public interest.” Jack Guttman, Inc. v. Kopykake
Enterprises, Inc., 302 F.3d 1352, 1356 (Fed. Cir. 2002).
However, the factors do not all carry equal weight. The first
two factors effectively set a threshold showing that the
moving party must meet before the other factors are weighted.
See Amazon.com, Inc. v. Barnesandnoble.com, Inc.,
239 F.3d 1343, 1350 (Fed. Cir. 2001) (“[A] movant
cannot be granted a preliminary injunction unless it
establishes both of the first two factors, i.e.,
likelihood of success on the merits and irreparable
harm.” (emphasis in original)). The Federal
Circuit's standard of likelihood of success is whether
success is more likely than not. See Revision Military,
Inc. v. Balboa Mfg. Co., 700 F.3d 524, 526 (Fed. Cir.
Motion to Dismiss Analysis
Invalidity and Unenforceability Claim
argues that Count 3 of CMF's Amended Counterclaim must be
dismissed for failure to state a claim, specifically alleging
that Count 3 contains nothing more than a formulaic
recitation of various statutory bases for invalidity, while
lacking any allegations of facts to demonstrate the claims
are plausible. While CMF contends that it has alleged
sufficient facts to support its claims, it also argues ...