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Court Declines to Extend Fed.R.Evid. Rule 502(d) to Proprietary and Confidential Communications

In this patent infringement action, the parties jointly moved the court to enter an order, pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence 502(d), to allow the parties to claw back the production of not just attorney-client information, but also proprietary and confidential information.  To support the request, the parties explained that the complex nature of the action would require the parties to disclose a large volume of electronically stored information (“ESI”) that would contain proprietary source code, software and computer systems.

The parties claimed that entry of the proposed non-waiver order was needed due to the plaintiff’s filing of and intent to file additional similar lawsuits and “to promote efficiency in discovery to prevent exhaustive, expensive privilege review efforts, to make the parties’ nonwaiver agreement binding on third parties, and to otherwise provide the parties with the maximum protection available under the law.”

After quoting Fed.R.Evid. Rule 502(d), the court noted that it had discretion to enter the order and also noted that federal courts routinely enter such orders with respect to privileged information that allows privileged information to be clawed back by the producing party.  The court then found that the provision with respect to clawing back privileged documents was acceptable, but the extension to proprietary and confidential documents was not:  “The Court finds the foregoing provisions acceptable with one exception. Rule 502 applies to the “disclosure of a communication or information covered by the attorney-client privilege or work-product protection.” Id. In the second paragraph of the proposed order, the parties attempt to extend Rule 502’s protection to information and materials beyond that narrow scope – specifically, to proprietary and confidential documents or materials. (See Doc. 56-1, ¶ 2 (emphasis added)). To the extent the parties are seeking to the expand the protection afforded by Rule 502, that request will be denied and the proposed order modified.”

Proxicom Wireless, LLC v. Target Corp., Case. No. 6:19-cv-1886-Orl-37LRH (M.D. Fla. March 25, 2020)

The authors of are patent trial lawyers at Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP. For more information about this case, contact Stan Gibson at 310.201.3548 or