In a previous litigation involving ZTE (but not the plaintiff), ZTE entered into a consulting arrangement with Dr. Madisetti. ZTE asserted that ZTE provided Dr. Madisetti with confidential information under the consulting agreement. When the plaintiff in this case, Bell Northern Research (“BNR”) retained Dr. Madisetti as an expert against ZTE, ZTE moved for a protective order to preclude BNR from using Dr. Madisetti as an expert.
ZTE initially asserted that the terms of the Consulting Agreement prohibited Dr. Madisetti from serving as an expert for BNR in this case. BNR responded to that argument that the Agreement is no longer valid and Dr. Madisetti’s expertise in the current litigation would not involve products at issue in the previous matter.
The court agreed with ZTE, noting that the Consulting Agreement provided that it would terminate after the longest of three distinct time periods. “Though two years have passed from the effective date of the Agreement, the latter two time periods are not yet complete. First, Dr. Madisetti has not necessarily completed all work performed under the agreement, because the InterDigital District Litigation remains stayed, and there is a chance that more claims may arise. Second, because the InterDigital District Litigation is currently stayed and not complete—meaning the requisite one-year period following the close of that case has not yet begun—the agreement remains in effect. While BNR is correct that the InterDigital District Litigation has been stayed for a long time and that ZTE has advocated for the litigation to end, the fact remains that the litigation has not ended and therefore, the Consulting Agreement between ZTE and Dr. Madisetti remains in effect.”