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Fleshing Out the Form Complaint

March 22, 2013

A short note on a short order that would likely pass without comment—if it weren’t from the Eastern District of Texas.

The order—with a mere two paragraphs of analysis—finds Plaintiff’s patent infringement claim lacking in the requisite specificity and requires Plaintiff to re–plead within two weeks. In short, the accusation directed at “visual voicemail products” is too vague to pass muster and provide notice under the Supreme Court’s pleading standards, or even under that creaky and discredited Form 18.

The order is surprising in that, if we are permitted to draw conclusions based on our practice there, the Eastern District of Texas has traditionally kept a fairly liberal interpretation of what is required to pass muster under Form 18—and, indeed, “visual voicemail products” is arguably more specific than other complaints we’ve seen.

This may be an outlier, or we may simply be off base—but either way, an order requiring Plaintiff’s to state their claims with more specificity is welcome news when Defendants often seek to launch a prior art search or obtain a vendor’s involvement early in the case.

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