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Roger Dubois North America, Inc. v. Thomas

September 14, 2006

ROGER DUBOIS NORTH AMERICA, INC., PLAINTIFF,
v.
C. DUANE THOMAS, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Caputo

MEMORANDUM

Presently before the Court is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss the Plaintiff's Amended Complaint in Part, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For reasons set forth below, I will deny the Defendant's motion. The Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1121 and 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1332, 1338, and 1367.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs Roger Dubuis North America, Inc. ("RDNA") and Helvetia Time Corporation are distributors of luxury watches and timepieces in North and Central America and the Carribean, maintaining its principal place of business in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. (Doc. 4, ¶¶ 1-2.) Defendant C. Duane Thomas was employed as National Sales Manager of RDNA from October 2002 through November 2005. (Doc. 4, ¶ 3.) Plaintiffs allege that, since the time of his termination, Defendant has conspired to infringe upon RDNA's trademark and destroy the brand, eliminating it from the luxury watch and timepiece industry. (Doc. 4, ¶ 3.) Plaintiffs also allege that Defendant Thomas has affirmatively interfered with RDNA's contractual relationships by selling, marketing, and/or distributing watches and related products bearing the RDNA trademark without consent or approval of the company. (Doc. 4, ¶ 10.) They further allege that Defendant attempted to illegally obtain Plaintiff's business records by bribing one of Plaintiff's employees with a substantial cash payment. (Doc. 4, ¶¶ 29-40.) Finally, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant has misappropriated their confidential and proprietary business information for the purposes of using and exploiting same to lure RDNA customers towards Defendant's new brand, to the detriment of RDNA sales. (Doc. 4, ¶¶ 41-44, 47.)

On December 20, 2005, Plaintiffs RDNA*fn1 and Helvetia Time Corporation filed their Amended Complaint against Defendants C. Duane Thomas, Carlos Dias, Maurice Mazzocchi, and Manufacture Roger Dubuis, S.A., alleging claims for: trademark infringement under (1) the Lanham Act and (2) common law, (3) misappropriation of confidential business information and trade secrets, (4) tortious interference with business relations, (5) conversion of property, and (6) civil conspiracy. (Doc. 4.)

On January 20, 2006, the Court issued an oral order from the bench, dismissing all claims against Defendants Carlos Diaz, Maurice Mazzocchi, and Manufacture Roger Dubuis, S.A., and retaining only the claims against Defendant C. Duane Thomas. (Doc. 42.)

On January 6, 2006, Defendant C. Duane Thomas (hereinafter, "Defendant") filed a Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint in Part, with respect to Counts One (Trademark Infringement - Lanham Act), Count Two, (Trademark Infringement - Common Law), and Count Five (Conversion), to the extent that Count Five purports to state a claim for conversion of trade secrets. (Doc. 22-1.) It is this motion to dismiss in part that is presently before the Court.

This motion is fully briefed and ripe for disposition.

LEGAL STANDARD

Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides for the dismissal of a complaint, in whole or in part, for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Dismissal is appropriate only if, accepting all factual allegations in the complaint as true and "drawing all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor, no relief could be granted under any set of facts consistent with the allegations in the complaint." Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts, Inc. v. Mirage Resorts Inc., 140 F.3d 478, 483 (3d Cir. 1998).

In deciding a motion to dismiss, the Court should consider the allegations in the complaint, exhibits attached to the complaint and matters of public record. See Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. v. White Consol. Indus., Inc., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir. 1993). The Court may also consider "undisputedly authentic" documents where the plaintiff's claims are based on the documents and the defendant has attached a copy of the document to the motion to dismiss. Id. The Court need not assume that the plaintiff can prove facts that were not alleged in the complaint, see City of Pittsburgh v. West Penn Power Co., 147 F.3d 256, 263 (3d Cir. 1998), nor credit a complaint's "bald assertions" or "legal conclusions." Morse v. Lower Marion Sch. Dist., 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir. 1997).

When considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the Court's role is limited to determining whether the plaintiff is entitled to offer evidence in support of the claims. See Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974). The Court does not consider whether the plaintiff will ultimately prevail. See id. In order to survive a motion to dismiss, the plaintiff must set forth information from which each element of a claim may be inferred. See Kost v. Kozakiewicz, 1 F.3d 176, 183 (3d Cir. 1993). The defendant bears the burden of establishing that the plaintiff's complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. See Gould Elecs. v. United States, 220 F.3d 169, 178 (3d Cir. 2000).

DISCUSSION

1. Plaintiff's Counts One & Two - Trademark ...


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