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David Wawrzynski v. H. J. Heinz Company

April 27, 2012

DAVID WAWRZYNSKI,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
H. J. HEINZ COMPANY, ET AL, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Arthur J. Schwab United States District Judge

ELECTRONICALLY FILED

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Plaintiff sued Defendants for breach of implied contract and unjust enrichment. Doc. No. 4. In response to Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, Defendants counterclaimed seeking declaration(s) that they did not infringe Plaintiff's patent and/or that the Plaintiff's patent is invalid. Doc. No. 26.

Plaintiff filed a Motion to Dismiss Defendants' Counterclaims. Doc. No. 33. Judge McVerry denied Plaintiff's Motion to Dismiss and ordered Plaintiff to file an Answer to the Counterclaims. Doc. No. 49. Shortly thereafter, Judge McVerry transferred this case to a Patent Panel Judge, and the case was assigned to this Court.

Plaintiff complied with Judge McVerry's Order and filed an Answer to Defendants' Counterclaims, (Doc. No. 60) but also filed a second Motion to Dismiss the Counterclaims. Doc. No. 62. It is the second Motion to Dismiss Defendants' Counterclaims that is presently before this Court.

Based upon the foregoing law and authority, Plaintiff's current Motion to Dismiss will be denied.

I. Case History and Factual Background

Plaintiff brought this lawsuit asserting common law claims for breach of implied contract and unjust enrichment in a state court in Michigan. Doc. No. 1. The case was removed by Defendant to the United States District Court for Eastern District of Michigan. Id.

While the case was pending in federal court Michigan, Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss, and Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint in response. Doc. No. 4. Defendants then filed a Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint or, in the alternative, Transfer Venue to the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. Doc. No. 9. In August of 2011, the Motion to Transfer Venue was granted and the matter was transferred to Judge McVerry. Doc. Nos. 19 and 20.

On September 8, 2011, Defendants filed an Answer and Counterclaims to Plaintiff's Amended Complaint. Doc. No. 26. The two counterclaims raised by Defendants sought declaratory relief for non-infringement of Plaintiff's method patent (the '990 patent), and for invalidity of Plaintiff's '990 patent. Id.

On October 28, 2011, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Dismiss Defendant's Counterclaims arguing that the ideas he shared with Defendants were "marketing ideas" and/or marketing strategies and not his patented method ideas. Doc. Nos. 33 at pgs. 1-2 and 63 at pgs. 1-2.

On March 6, 2011, Judge McVerry denied Plaintiff's Motion to Dismiss and filed an Opinion and Order of Court to that end. Doc. No. 49. Judge McVerry ordered Plaintiff to file an Answer to Defendants' Counterclaims, and on March 8, 2011, transferred the case. This matter was reassigned to this Court that same day.

On March 16, 2011, Plaintiff filed his Answer to Defendants' Counterclaims which contained admissions that Defendants had not infringed on his method ('990) patent. Doc. No. 60. On March 30, 2011, Plaintiff filed another Motion to Dismiss Defendants' Counterclaims. Doc. No. 62. In this Motion to Dismiss, Plaintiff again contends that his own claims do not arise out of his '990 method patent.

On April 13, 2012, Defendants filed a Brief in Opposition to Plaintiff's new Motion to Dismiss. Doc. No. 69. On April 4, 2012, Plaintiff filed a Reply to the Response to his Motion to Dismiss the Counterclaims. ...


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