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Smartdoor Holdings, Inc. v. Edmit Industries, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

January 23, 2015

SMARTDOOR HOLDINGS, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
EDMIT INDUSTRIES, INC., et al., Defendants

For SMARTDOOR HOLDINGS, INC., Plaintiff: Thomas A. Mauro, MAURO LAW OFFICES, P. C., Washington, DC.

For EDMIT INDUSTRIES, INC., EDMIT INDUSTRIES, INC., Defendants: Fatima Lahnin, LEAD ATTORNEY, CARMODY & TORRANCE, LLP, New Haven, CT; Damian K. Gunningsmith, John R. Horvack, PRO HAC VICE, CARMODY TORRANCE SANDAK & HENNESSEY LLP, New Haven, CT.

For ADA EZ, A Division of Edmit Industries, Inc., Defendant: Damian K. Gunningsmith, LEAD ATTORNEY, CARMODY TORRANCE SANDAK & HENNESSEY LLP, New Haven, CT.

For SMARTDOOR HOLDINGS, INC., Counter Defendant: Thomas A. Mauro, MAURO LAW OFFICES, P. C., Washington, DC.

For EDMIT INDUSTRIES, INC., Counter Claimant: Fatima Lahnin, LEAD ATTORNEY, CARMODY & TORRANCE, LLP, New Haven, CT; Damian K. Gunningsmith, John R. Horvack, CARMODY TORRANCE SANDAK & HENNESSEY LLP, New Haven, CT.

Page 276

MEMORANDUM OPINION

JAMES E. BOASBERG, United States District Judge.

Plaintiff Smartdoor Holdings, Inc., filed this action against several Defendants, alleging patent infringement and misappropriation of trade secrets. Defendant ADA EZ now moves to dismiss on the ground that, as a mere division of a company, it lacks the capacity to be sued. Plaintiff both opposes and moves to strike the Motion, claiming that Defendant has not adequately explained what ADA EZ is or who owns it. Because the Court concludes that, as identified in the Complaint, ADA EZ does lack capacity, it will grant Defendant's Motion and deny Plaintiff's.

I. Background

According to the Complaint -- the truth of which must be presumed at this stage -- Smartdoor owns a patent for technology used in automatic doors. See Compl., ¶ ¶ 1, 7, 8. In 2001, Plaintiff's predecessor in interest, Smart Door Systems, Inc. (SDSI), entered into a business relationship with an Ontario consulting company to develop intellectual property related to its patent. Id., ¶ 10. Defendant David Johan Van Tuyl was the principal of that company. Id. SDSI and Van Tuyl worked together developing trade secrets related to Plaintiff's patent until they suffered a falling out in April 2004. Id., ¶ ¶ 14, 15. Some time later, an unnamed third party filed a patent application that contains and utilizes some of these trade secrets owned by Smartdoor. Id., ¶ 17. This application was then used in support of later utility patent applications owned by the other two named Defendants, Edmit Industries, Inc. and ADA EZ, the latter of which Plaintiff identifies as " a division of . . . Edmit." Id., ¶ ¶ 3, 4, 18. According to Plaintiff, Edmit and ADA EZ manufacture and sell a product that utilizes technology covered by its patent. Id., ¶ ¶ 20, 21.

Smartdoor filed this suit on April 17, 2014, alleging patent infringement, contributory patent infringement, and misappropriation of trade secrets. Id., ¶ ¶ 19-40. Defendant ADA EZ now moves to dismiss

Page 277

on the ground that, as a division of a company, it lacks the capacity to be sued. Plaintiff opposes and separately moves to strike the Motion, asserting that Defendant did not adequately ...


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