When this patent infringement action began, the plaintiff explained that it was concerned that it would not be able to obtain important discovery if Ricoh Company Ltd. (“RCL”), which is the parent company of the defendants, Ricoh Electronics, Inc. (“REI”) and Ricoh Americas Corp. (“RAC”) were dismissed as a party. When they moved for dismissal, the defendants represented that: “IV identifies no information exclusively within the possession of RCL that is germane to its infringement case. On the other hand, it would be unreasonable and a hardship on RCL to force it to participate in litigation halfway around the world, particularly when RAC and REI are able and willing to contest IV’s claims.”
As explained by the district court, after the dismissal of RCL, REI and RAC stated that the technical documents sought by IV were not in their possession or control, but might be obtained from RCL. RCL then refused to provide the documents voluntarily. Unable to obtain the discovery from REI and RAC, IV sought discovery from RCL through international Letters Rogatory. That request was denied by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.