The Federal Circuit reversed dismissal of a pro se complaint for patent and trademark infringement, holding that it "met the minimal pleading requirements".  The patent count sufficed because it asserted ownership of a specific patent, identified the infringer, cited the patent as the subject of infringement, "described the means" by which infringement occurred, invoked a particular section of patent law, and accused a device and line of products of infringing the patent.  The trademark count also survived.  McZeal v. Sprint Nextel Corp., No. 06-1548 (Fed. Cir. Sept. 14, 2007).

Judge Dyk dissented on the ground that the patent count, in his view, didn’t pass muster under Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S. Ct. 1955 (2007).  He argued that Form 16 in the Appendix of Forms to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure may satisfy Rule 8 in a claim of literal infringement but that it doesn’t work for a doctrine of equivalents claim like McZeal’s.

Barry Barnett

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