After defendants Clint Sharp, Cribl Inc.’s CEO, and the company were accused of intellectual property theft and other unfair business practices, the defendants have partly moved to dismiss Splunk Inc.’s suit on grounds that the complaint fails to plead the requisite elements of infringement and that the patents underlying the suit are invalid.
Last month’s Northern District of California action said that Cribl, a company founded by three former Splunk employees, usurps Splunk’s intellectual property unscrupulously and without permission. Specifically, the data analytics company says Cribl’s software products were built using intentionally misappropriated Splunk source code and that the defendants have lifted other confidential information since Cribl’s 2017 founding.
Now, Sharp and the company have moved to dismiss the patent and Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) claims on multiple grounds, including that the claims for willful and indirect infringement do not sufficiently plead the element of knowledge. “Splunk fails to allege it sent Cribl a notice letter, much less that anyone at Cribl was personally aware of the Asserted Patents,” the filing says.
Instead, the complaint “merely implies” that Cribl somehow gained knowledge thereof because Cribl’s co-founders and some employees formerly participated in Splunk’s patent program, even though none is a named inventor of any of the five asserted patents, the motion says in support of its insufficiency argument. Additionally, the dismissal bid contends that the complaint is flawed insofar as it fails to allege intent to willfully infringe.
Further, the defendants dedicate a majority of their page space to arguing the invalidity of each of the five patents, asserting that representative claims of each are patent-ineligible abstract ideas under federal law.
Finally, Cribl’s motion asserts that Splunk’s DMCA violation claim, based on Sharp’s alleged falsification, removal, and alteration of copyright management information (CMI), should be dismissed because Splunk has failed to identify the CMI at issue. In addition, Sharp claims that Splunk fails to allege he acted with the requisite intent because Splunk never informed him of his alleged copyright infringement.
A hearing is scheduled for March 23, 2023 before Judge William H. Alsup.