Articles Posted in Discovery

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In this patent infringement action, the defendant, High 5 Games (“High 5”), moved for an order overruling the plaintiff’s, Konami Gaming, Inc. (“Konami”), objection to an expert witness viewing confidential information. In the alternative, High 5 moved to amend the stipulated protective order signed by the parties.

As explained by the district court, the stipulated protective order entered into by the parties stated that for purposes of access to confidential documents, an “expert” is “a person with specialized knowledge or experience in a matter pertinent to the litigation who . . . is not a past or current employee of a Party or of a Party’s competitor.”
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DraftKings filed a motion to stay discovery until the district court had an opportunity to rule on the a motion to dismiss. The motion to dismiss asserted that all of the ten patents-in-suit were invalid because they claimed patent-ineligible subject matter. CG Technology opposed the motion.

The district court began its analysis by noting that the Federal Rules do not provide for automatic or blanket stays of discovery when a potentially dispositive motion is pending. Tradebay, LLC v. eBay, Inc., 278 F.R.D. 597 (D. Nev. 2011) (citation omitted). But the district court also noted that as a general matter, courts have broad discretionary power to control discovery. See e.g., Little v. City of Seattle, 863 F.2d 681, 685 (9th Cir. 1988). In determining whether to stay discovery, and in light of the directive in Rule 1 to construe the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in a manner to “secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action,” the preferred approach is that set forth previously in Twin City Fire Insurance v. Employers of Wausau, 124 F.R.D. 652 (D. Nev. 1989).
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In this patent infringement action, the plaintiff sought production of the defendant’s document retention and document destruction policies. The defendant asserted that the request sought information protected by work product and attorney-client privilege. The plaintiff argued that the documents were merely corporate policies that could not be privileged.

The district court analyzed the issue by reviewing the court’s Default Discovery Standards and concluded that these policies are protected under those standards.
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In this patent infringement action, the defendant sought the production of documents that the plaintif, IOENGINGE, had provided to potential companies that could fund litigation. IOENGINGED claimed that the documents were protected by the work product doctrine. The defendant sought production of the withheld documents.

IOENGINE explained that the approximately 70 documents listed on the privilege log were prepared by its counsel and by the inventor of the patent-in-suit, Mr. McNulty, for litigation funders in anticipation of and during litigation.
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In this patent infringement action, the defendants filed a motion to strike an errata change to the deposition testimony of a witness, Joseph Tindall. The district court noted that if the errata were allowed, it would change an answer from “yes” to “no.” As a justification for the change, the witness contended he “did not understand the question and gave an incorrect response when [he] answered it ‘yes.'” In response, the defendants argued that the requested change was improper.
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The defendants produced documents in response to plaintiffs’ first set of requests for production and included in the production were five documents that the defendants were later claim were subject to attorney-client privilege. Before the defendants made that claim, however, the plaintiffs deposed a corporate designee of Defendants Musion Events Ltd. and Musion 3D Ltd. During that deposition the five documents in questions were marked as exhibits. For some of the documents, the deponent testified regarding the contents of the documents and even read portions of the documents into the record–all without objection as to privilege or work product.

Shortly after that deposition, the defendants’ counsel to plaintiffs’ counsel and requested a claw-back of the five documents pursuant to the parties’ protective order.
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In this patent infringement action, the defendants conducted a “piecemeal approach to discovery, reviewing only the files of select corporate employees.” The district court found that this approach was contrary to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and to repeated orders of the court.

In response to plaintiff’s motion to compel, the defendant cited Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b)(2)(C), which allows the court to limit discovery if “the discovery sought is unreasonably cumulative or duplicative…” The district court noted that the rule “allows the court–not a party–to limit discovery where it is unduly burdensome. Absent such an order of the court, a party may not unilaterally refuse to comply with its discovery obligations.”
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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.
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The defendant filed a motion to compel, seeking a wide array of discovery against Plaintiffs Dyson, Inc. and Dyson Limited (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) to produce emails belonging to James Dyson (“Dyson”). Plaintiffs asserted that Dyson is Plaintiffs’ “global leader” and one of the named inventors on the patents-in-suit.

Although plaintiffs agreed to produce Dyson’s emails that are relevant to the issue of “inventorship,” they refused to produce documents relating to other issues, such as claim construction or infringement. The plaintiffs refused to produce any such emails because the “apex doctrine” requires that the defendants show that they could not obtain such evidence from other sources before obtaining them from high-ranking corporate officials, such as Dyson.
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Plaintiffs filed a declaratory judgment action seeking a declaration that U.S. Patent No. 7,923,221 (the “Cabilly III patent”), owned by Defendants, is invalid and therefore Plaintiffs do not owe royalties with respect to Praluent. During the case, Plaintiffs requested production of five executed settlement agreements that resolved prior litigations involving the Cabilly II and III patents and also requested a deposition regarding the agreements and the negotiations that led up to the agreements. Defendants represented that it would not use the agreements in the litigation.

The district court began its analysis by noting that “[o]ne potential methodology for valuing a patent is based on comparable licenses. ‘Such a model begins with rates from comparable licenses and then ‘account[s] for differences in the technologies and economic circumstances of the contracting parties.’ . . . The Federal Circuit has rejected the argument that licenses in settlement agreements are categorically irrelevant to a reasonably royalty. ‘While the fact that a settlement or settlement offer comes in the midst of litigation may affect the relevance of the settlement or offer, there is no per se rule barring reference to settlements simply because they arise from litigation.’ Astrazeneca AB v. Apotex Corp., 782 F.3d 1324, 1336 (Fed. Cir. 2015).”
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