I/P Engine, Inc. v. AOL, Inc. et al
Memorandum in Support re 117 MOTION to Compel Plaintiff I/P Engine's Motion to Compel Defendant Google, Inc.'s Custodial Document Production filed by I/P Engine, Inc.. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1, # 2 Exhibit 2, # 3 Exhibit 3, # 4 Exhibit 4, # 5 Exhibit 5, # 6 Exhibit 6, # 7 Exhibit 7, # 8 Exhibit 8, # 9 Exhibit 9, # 10 Exhibit 10, # 11 Exhibit 11, # 12 Exhibit 12, # 13 Exhibit 13, # 14 Exhibit 14, # 15 Exhibit 15, # 16 Exhibit 16, # 17 Exhibit 17, # 18 Exhibit 18, # 19 Exhibit 19, # 20 Exhibit 20, # 21 Exhibit 21, # 22 Proposed Order)(Sherwood, Jeffrey)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA
AOL, INC. et al.,
I/P ENGINE, INC.,
Civ. Action No. 2:11-cv-512
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF I/P ENGINE’S MOTION TO COMPEL
DEFENDANT GOOGLE INC.’S CUSTODIAL DOCUMENT PRODUCTION
INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY
More than six months ago, on November 7, 2011, I/P Engine, Inc. (“I/P Engine”) served
its initial document requests upon Defendant Google Inc. (“Google”). Those document requests
were served pursuant to a stipulated agreement between the parties, whereby I/P Engine agreed
to early disclosure of its infringement contentions, and Defendants agreed to engage in early
document discovery. I/P Engine kept its part of the agreement. Six months later, however,
Google has not produced a single custodial document, even though it acknowledges that it has
collected those documents. I/P Engine repeatedly has been requesting Google for these
documents, having conducted numerous meet-and-confers, but without success. On April 9,
2012, Google for the first time identified a target date for the production of those documents:
June 15, 2012 – more than eight months after service of I/P Engine’s document requests, and
only a month before I/P Engine’s expert reports are due.
Google’s delays, and its proposed production date, are unreasonable, reflect a disregard
for discovery procedures in this judicial district, and create tremendous prejudice for I/P Engine.
Google has only itself to blame for this delay. I/P Engine understands that, as of April 9, Google
had not yet even started reviewing the documents. Google should be obligated to immediately
produce its custodial documents.
As explained by Google, the only reason it says it needs until June 15, 2012 to produce
the custodial documents is because it claims it would take that long to review the documents it
already has collected documents. In other words, Google’s delay is nothing more than a question
of allocation of resources. Google’s counsel has the manpower and the resources to review the
documents in whatever amount of time the Court orders. Reviewing the documents will take the
same number of hours and will incur the same expense whether it is done over the next two
weeks, or the next sixty days. It is not a matter of burden or expense – Google simply does not
want to review and produce the documents quickly. This Court cannot allow Google to evade its
discovery obligations simply by choosing to allocate fewer resources to a task so that it takes
Google’s proposed date of June 15, 2012 is unacceptable to I/P Engine, and should be
unacceptable to the Court. Initial expert reports are due on July 18, 2012. Trial is set for
October 16, 2012. Google’s proposal to sandbag the end of discovery effectively would preclude
I/P Engine from meaningfully reviewing and deposing the authors of the documents prior to the
disclosure of expert reports. This Court should compel Google to produce all of its custodial
documents by no later than April 30, 2012. If Google has not completed its review of the
documents by that time, then the documents nonetheless should be produced subject to the
clawback provisions of Rule 502 and the Agreed Protective Order entered in this case.
On November 4, 2011, the parties entered into a stipulation providing, among other
things, that full discovery in the present litigation would commence. Ex. 1. On November 7,
2011, pursuant to the agreement, I/P Engine served written discovery including seventy-five (75)
discovery requests on Google. Ex. 2. On December 7, 2011, Google produced technical
documents that were pulled from Google’s internal technical document repository, a collection
of technical wikis prepared by and used by Google’s engineers. That production did not include
a single custodial document or any other relevant documents responsive to I/P Engine’s
document requests. Monterio Decl., ¶ 3.
The parties immediately began discussions towards identifying custodians and search
terms for Google’s custodial production. Google stalled, insisting that I/P Engine identify all of
the proposed search terms and custodians that would help Google locate its own responsive
documents. After several meet and confers, on December 23, 2011, I/P Engine sent Google an
email concerning Google custodians and provided proposed search terms. Ex. 3. On January 9,
2012, Google responded requesting justification for certain custodians and calling I/P Engine’s
list of proposed search terms “useless”: “[I/P Engine’s] broad, meaningless [proposed] search
terms [are] improper and [do] nothing to assist the parties in moving forward with discovery in a
timely manner.” Ex. 4. Prior to that point, however, Google had yet to propose a single search
term that was associated with anything except Google’s knowledge of the asserted patents.
Following another meet and confer, by January 10, 2012, the parties had agreed to
eighteen (18) search terms. Ex. 5. Google’s collection and review of documents related to these
18 agreed-upon search terms could have began more than four months ago.
Google continued to refuse to propose its own search terms, even though it knew its own
documents, and had received I/P Engine’s infringement contentions more than two months ago.
On January 13, 2012, Google insisted that I/P Engine “formulate reasonable, targeted search
terms relevant to its case.” Ex. 6. Trying to move the ball forward, at a meet and confer on
January 17, 2012, the parties finally agreed that Google would search the files of nine
employees. I/P Engine also proposed twenty-two narrowly tailored search terms with an
explanation why I/P Engine included each particular search term. Ex. 7. Google did nothing for
three weeks. On February 9, 2012, I/P Engine reminded Google of its discovery obligations with
respect to its custodial production. Ex. 8. On February 13, 2012, Google retreated from its
agreement to produce custodial documents from the agreed-upon employees. Ex. 9. After a
meet and confer on February 21, 2012, Google agreed to search the files of its nine custodians, as
agreed January 17. Ex. 10. On March 1, 2012, Google objected to many of I/P Engine’s search
terms that were proposed in January. For example, Google vaguely stated that one term
“retrieves too high a percentage of hits” without proposing any alternatives or solutions. Ex. 11.
Patiently trying to resolve Google’s incessant objections, I/P Engine continued to work
towards a solution. During communications on March 2, 2012, Google demanded that I/P
Engine provide support for certain terms that I/P Engine identified on January 24. Ex. 12.
Because I/P Engine’s January 24 letter specifically explained the basis for each proposed search
term, Google’s demand was nothing more than a stalling tactic, as I/P Engine pointed out on
March 5, 2012. Ex. 13. The parties again communicated on March 7, 9, and 16, 2012
concerning search terms resulting in little forward progress. Exs. 14 and 15.
On March 18, 2012, I/P Engine stated that “Google’s continuous negotiations with
respect to search terms for Google’s custodial search and the resulting delay in producing
responsive documents [was] becoming a significant problem in the litigation.” Ex. 16.
Threatening a motion to compel finally prompted Google to move forward; the parties finally
agreed to search terms on March 27, 2012. Ex. 17.
Having agreed to the search terms, Google’s review of responsive documents should
have started immediately. On March 28, 2012, Google stated:
Now that the parties have agreed to a final list of search terms, Google is running
the search terms against the nine custodians’ documents, and reviewing the results
of those terms. We are endeavoring to determine the total number of documents
to be reviewed so that we can provide an estimated date for completion of review
and production. We will provide this estimated date as soon as possible.
Ever since then, I/P Engine has been pressing Google for an estimated date for
production. On April 3, 2012, Google stated “[w]ith respect to Google’s custodial production,
we indicated that we will have a better idea of an estimated completion date at the end of this
week and will give you our estimate then.” Ex. 19. On April 6, 2012, Google stated that it
needed until April 9, 2012 to provide an estimated completion date and requested a meet and
confer on that date. Ex. 20.
During the April 9, 2012 meet and confer, Google stated that it had collected 250,000
custodial documents, stated that it needed to review those documents, and that it would produce
all of those documents by June 15, 2012. Monterio Decl., ¶ 5. There was little discussion of
whether these documents were relevant and responsive, because these documents were identified
pursuant to the parties’ negotiated search terms, which were closely tied to the issues in the
litigation. Google’s primary argument was that that it needed more than two months to review
the documents for privilege. Monterio Decl., ¶ 6. Google tacitly admitted that it had not begun
its review of the custodial documents. Google refused to agree to an earlier production date for
all or even any portion of those documents. When I/P Engine stated that it would move to
compel, Google’s counsel stated that such a motion would be futile, because it would not be
ruled upon until May at the earliest, and that the Court would not order Google to immediately
turn over all of its documents.1
Rule 26(b)(1) governs the scope of discovery, providing that “[p]arties may obtain
discovery regarding any non-privileged matter that is relevant to any party’s claim or defense” or
“appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.” Fed. R. Civ. P.
26(b)(1). Rule 26(b) provides “very broad boundaries.” Gutshall v. New Prime, Inc. (W.D. Va.
2000). This is because, “[i]n practice, a party cannot pursue its claims or defenses without an
adequate opportunity to obtain evidence through the broad discovery contemplated by the
Federal Rules.” Steward v. VCU Health System Authority, 2011 WL 7281603 at *8 (E.D. Va.
Nov. 22, 2011). “The provisions of Fed. R Civ. P. 26 afford district courts broad discretion over
discovery matters.” Scott & Stringfellow, LLC v. AIG Commercial Equipment Finance, Inc.,
2011 WL 1827900 at *2 (E.D. Va. May 12, 2011) (citing Crawford-El v. Britton, 523 U.S. 574,
598-99 (1998)). A party requesting discovery may move to compel the disclosure of any
materials requested so long as such discovery is relevant and otherwise discoverable. See Fed.
R. Civ. P. 37.
I/P Engine is entitled to the discovery of any non-privileged information relevant to its
claims or defenses or that appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible
After the close of business on April 10, 2012, as I/P Engine was finalizing this motion,
Google’s counsel sent a letter proposing to produce custodial documents for three custodians by
May 11, 2012, and would try to complete the final custodial production by May 30, 2012,
“assuming that no significant issues arise as a result of the review process.” Ex. 21. This
proposal does little to advance the ball. I/P Engine has noticed Rule 30(b)(6) depositions for late
April, and has proposed that fact depositions of Defendants take place in May and early June.
Google’s proposal would ensure that no fact depositions would take place until late June and
July – on the eve of the expert report deadline.
evidence. Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). This Court expects that the parties will produce documents
in a timely and efficient manner and not intentionally delay given this Court’s fast-paced
schedule. There is not a dispute as to whether Google possesses relevant custodial documents
and communications related to the present litigation. In fact, Google admits to possessing
250,000 relevant, responsive custodial documents. Moreover, Google does not dispute that it has
not produced the custodial documents relevant to the present litigation. The only dispute
between the parties is when Google will produce the relevant, responsive 250,000 custodial
Google’s sole basis for not having produced the documents is because it needs more than
two months to review the documents for privilege. This assertion is without merit, for four
First, Google has already had more than six months to produce the documents. I/P
Engine’s document requests have been pending for 125 days. It has been 77 days since the
parties agreed-upon the initial list of search terms, which account for approximately half of the
search terms being used for Google’s custodial search. Google’s time has run out.
Second, Google’s delays create tremendous prejudice to I/P Engine. Under Google’s
proposed schedule, I/P Engine would receive Google’s document production 191 days after it
was due, and 33 days before initial expert reports are due. I/P Engine would be unable to
properly review the documents, prepare for, notice, negotiate dates, then depose those fact
witnesses, and then incorporate that discovery into the expert reports. No doubt this is Google’s
intention. This conduct, however, should be not be acceptable to this Court.
Third, the only reason for review is for privilege. The documents are presumptively
relevant, having been located through search terms specifically tied to the case. Privilege can be
preserved pursuant to Rule 502 and the clawback provision in the protective order, which states:
If information subject to a claim of attorney-client privilege, work product
immunity, or other privilege, doctrine, right or immunity is nevertheless
inadvertently or unintentionally produced, such production shall in no way
prejudice or other constitute a waiver or estoppel as to any such privilege,
doctrine, right or immunity. Any party that inadvertently produces materials
protected by the attorney-client privilege, work product privilege or other
privilege, doctrine, right or immunity may obtain the return of those materials by
promptly notifying the recipient(s) and providing a privilege log for the
inadvertently produced materials.
D.I. 85, Agreed Protective Order, Section 7.
Fourth, this issue is nothing more than a manpower issue. Google has the ability –
whether through contract attorneys, a team of attorneys at Google’s counsel, or otherwise, to
review these documents faster than Google proposes to do so. What can be done in 60 days can
be done in two weeks at the same cost using additional readily available resources. I/P Engine
should not be punished because Google has delayed more than six months. The documents
should be produced by no later than April 30, 2012.
For the foregoing reasons, this Court should compel Google to produce all relevant, non-
privileged documents relating to I/P Engine’s pending document requests by no later than
April 30, 2012.
Dated: April 11, 2012
By: /s/ Jeffrey K. Sherwood
Donald C. Schultz (Virginia Bar No. 30531)
W. Ryan Snow (Virginia Bar No. 47423)
CRENSHAW, WARE & MARTIN PLC
150 West Main Street
Norfolk, VA 23510
Telephone: (757) 623-3000
Facsimile: (757) 623-5735
Jeffrey K. Sherwood (Virginia Bar No. 19222)
Frank C. Cimino, Jr.
Kenneth W. Brothers
Charles J. Monterio, Jr.
DICKSTEIN SHAPIRO LLP
1825 Eye Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006
Telephone: (202) 420-2200
Facsimile: (202) 420-2201
Counsel for Plaintiff I/P Engine, Inc.
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
I hereby certify that on this 11th day of April, 2012, the foregoing MEMORANDUM IN
SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF I/P ENGINE’S MOTION TO COMPEL DEFENDANT
GOOGLE INC.’S CUSTODIAL DOCUMENT PRODUCTION, was served via the Court’s
CM/ECF system, on the following:
Stephen Edward Noona
Kaufman & Canoles, P.C.
150 W Main St
Norfolk, VA 23510
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP
50 California Street, 22nd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94111
Robert L. Burns
Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP
Two Freedom Square
11955 Freedom Drive
Reston, VA 20190
Cortney S. Alexander
Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP
3500 SunTrust Plaza
303 Peachtree Street, NE
Atlanta, GA 94111
/s/ Jeffrey K. Sherwood