Communication That Was Business Communication Could Not Be Protected by Attorney-Client Privilege But Could be Protected by Spousal Privilege
Flatworld Interactives ("Flatworld") filed a patent infringement action against Apple Inc. ("Apple"). During the litigation, Apple sought the production of several documents that Flatworld claimed were protected by the attorney-client privilege and the spousal privilege.
In particular, Flatworld asserted the attorney-client privilege and the spousal privilege for certain documents. In analyzing the issue, the district court noted that "[c]ommunications that would have been made for a business purpose are not protected by the attorney-client privilege." See McCaugherty v. Sifferman, 132 F.R.D. 234, 238 (N.D. Cal. 1990) ("No privilege can attach to any communication as to which a business purpose would have served as a sufficient cause, i.e., any communication that would have been made because of a business purpose, even if there had been no perceived additional interest in securing legal advice. Fisher et al. v. United States et al., 425 U.S. 391, 403, 96 S.Ct. 1569, 1577, 48 L.Ed.2d 39 (1975)."). The district court then concluded that one of the email chains at issue constituted a business communication and therefore, was not protected by the attorney-client privilege.