United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION AND ORDER
PATRICIA A. GAUGHAN, United States District Court Chief
matter is before the Court upon Defendant Sly, Inc.'s
Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim Or,
Alternatively, For a More Definite Statement (Doc. 6). This
is a copyright infringement action. For the reasons that
follow, Defendant's motion is GRANTED, and
Plaintiff's complaint (Doc. 1) is DISMISSED.
Plaintiff Livia d/b/a ECS, Inc. brings this lawsuit against
Defendant Sly, Inc., alleging copyright infringement under 17
U.S.C. §§ 501-504. Plaintiff also references 15
U.S.C. Chapter 107 as a basis for the Court's
jurisdiction over her claim.
alleges that she is the author of a “digital business
tool” for which she owns a copyright. (Doc. 1,
¶¶ 3, 4(a)). According to Plaintiff, she created
this work while working for Defendant, Sly, Inc. (Doc. 1,
¶ 4(b)-(c)). She claims that after she stopped working
for Defendant, she incorporated ECS, Inc. and “pursued
the intellectual property route.” Id. at
¶ 4(d). Plaintiff alleges that the digital business tool
she developed is used “in the sales process of Sly,
Inc. products.” Id. at ¶ 4(a). She also
states that a “training manual” was tested and
completed for Defendant's use that was “based on
[her] proof-of-concept manuscript.” Id. at
¶ 4(c). Plaintiff has asked the Court to grant her the
authority to exercise her copyright via injunction, and for
filed a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), arguing that
Plaintiff failed to set forth any allegations of copying and
did not state a cognizable claim for relief under copyright
law. In the alternative, Defendant requested that the Court
order Plaintiff to file a new complaint presenting a more
definite statement so that Defendant can adequately respond.
is appropriate when a plaintiff fails to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). We assume
the factual allegations in the complaint are true and
construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff.” Comtide Holdings, LLC v. Booth Creek
Management Corp., 2009 WL 1884445 (6th Cir. July 2,
2009) (citing Bassett v. Nat'l Collegiate Athletic
Ass'n, 528 F.3d 426, 430 (6th Cir. 2008)). In
construing the complaint in the light most favorable to the
non-moving party, “the court does not accept the bare
assertion of legal conclusions as enough, nor does it accept
as true unwarranted factual inferences.” Gritton v.
Disponett, 2009 WL 1505256 (6th Cir. May 27, 2009)
(citing In re Sofamor Danek Group, Inc.,
123 F.3d 394, 400 (6th Cir.1997)). As outlined by the Sixth
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only
“a short and plain statement of the claim showing that
the pleader is entitled to relief.” “Specific
facts are not necessary; the statement need only give the
defendant fair notice of what the ... claim is and the
grounds upon which it rests.” Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (quoting Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)).
However, “[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise
a right to relief above the speculative level” and to
“state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 570. A
plaintiff must “plead[ ] factual content that allows
the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant
is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
Keys v. Humana, Inc., 684 F.3d 605, 608 (6th Cir.
2012). Thus, Twombly and Iqbal require that
the complaint contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face based on factual content that allows the court to draw
the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570;
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. The complaint must contain
“more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not
do.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.
argues that Plaintiff's complaint should be dismissed
because Plaintiff has not alleged the elements necessary to
sustain a claim for copyright infringement or any other cause
of action. The Copyright Act gives copyright owners exclusive
rights to reproduce, prepare derivative works from,
distribute, and publicly perform or display a copyrighted
work. 17 U.S.C. § 106. The Act also allows “the
legal or beneficial owner of an exclusive right under a
copyright . . . to institute an action for any infringement
of that particular right.” 17 U.S.C. § 501(b). To
prevail on a copyright infringement claim, a plaintiff must
prove (1) ownership of a valid copyright, and (2) copying of
constituent elements of the work that are original. Feist
Publications, Inc. v. Rural Tel. Serv. Co., 499 U.S.
340, 361 (1991); Severe Records, LLC v. Rich, 658
F.3d 571, 579 (6th Cir. 2011) (“[T]o succeed in a
copyright infringement action, a plaintiff must establish
that he or she owns the copyrighted creation, and that the
defendant copied it.”). The Sixth Circuit has held that
claims of copyright infringement require greater
particularity in pleading, through showing “plausible
grounds, ” because such claims lend themselves readily
to abusive litigation. Nat'l Bus. Devel. Servs., Inc.
v. American Credit Educ. and Consulting, Inc., 2008 WL
4772074 (6th Cir. Oct. 31, 2008).
does not challenge whether Plaintiff can establish the
validity of her copyright, focusing instead on the second
element required to state a claim for infringement. Defendant
argues that Plaintiff failed to allege that Defendant copied
any portion of her copyrighted work. Defendant also argues
that Plaintiff has not adequately indicated which of
Defendant's products infringed ...