Symantec Corporation v. Zscaler, Inc.

Filing 140

Discovery Order re: Dkt. Nos. 125, 126, 127 and 128. Signed by Judge Maria-Elena James on 1/9/2018. (mejlc3, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 1/9/2018)

Download PDF
1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 7 SYMANTEC CORPORATION, Case No. 17-cv-04426-JST (MEJ) Plaintiff, 8 DISCOVERY ORDER v. Re: Dkt. Nos. 125, 126, 127, 128 9 10 ZSCALER, INC., Defendant. United States District Court Northern District of California 11 INTRODUCTION 12 Symantec Corp. filed this patent infringement action against competitor Zscaler, Inc. See 13 14 First Am. Compl., Dkt. No. 139; Joint Case Mgmt. Stmt., Dkt. No. 114. Symantec accuses 15 Zscaler’s cloud-based security product of infringing seven Symantec patents. Id. (both). The 16 Presiding Judge has referred all discovery disputes in this matter to the undersigned. Dkt. No. 17 111. 18 Pending before the Court are four discovery letter briefs. See Ltr. Br. re: Former Symantec 19 Employees, Dkt. No. 125; Ltr. Br. re: Patent Documents, Dkt. No. 126; Ltr. Br. re: Defenses and 20 Counterclaims, Dkt. No. 127; Ltr. Br. re: Log-In Credentials, Dkt. No. 128. Having considered the 21 parties’ positions, the relevant legal authority, and the record in this case, the Court issues the 22 following order. 23 24 LEGAL STANDARD Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26 provides that a party may obtain discovery “regarding 25 any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party’s claim or defense and proportional to the 26 needs of the case[.]” Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). Factors to consider include “the importance of the 27 issues at stake in the action, the amount in controversy, the parties’ relative access to relevant 28 information, the parties’ resources, the importance of the discovery in resolving the issues, and whether the burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit.” Id. 2 Discovery need not be admissible in evidence to be discoverable. Id. However, “[t]he parties and 3 the court have a collective responsibility to consider the proportionality of all discovery and 4 consider it in resolving discovery disputes.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 26 advisory committee notes (2015 5 amendments). Thus, there is “a shared responsibility on all the parties to consider the factors 6 bearing on proportionality before propounding discovery requests, issuing responses and 7 objections, or raising discovery disputes before the courts.” Salazar v. McDonald’s Corp., 2016 8 WL 736213, at *2 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 25, 2016); Goes Int’l, AB v. Dodur Ltd., 2016 WL 427369, at 9 *4 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 4, 2016) (citing advisory committee notes for proposition that parties share a 10 “collective responsibility” to consider proportionality and requiring that “[b]oth parties . . . tailor 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 1 their efforts to the needs of th[e] case”). 12 Rule 26(c) “confers broad discretion on the trial court to decide when a protective order is 13 appropriate and what degree of protection is required.” Seattle Times Co. v. Rhinehart, 467 U.S. 14 20, 36 (1984). “The court may, for good cause, issue an order to protect a party or person from 15 annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense,” including by (1) prohibiting 16 disclosure or discovery; (2) conditioning disclosure or discovery on specified terms; (3) 17 preventing inquiry into certain matters; or (4) limiting the scope of disclosure or discovery to 18 certain matters. Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(c)(1). DISCUSSION 19 20 21 Symantec has not established that the discovery it seeks to compel is proportional to the needs of the case, at least at this juncture. The undersigned thus orders the following: 22 Symantec shall produce within 2 weeks of the date of this Order a list of its employees 23 having knowledge of Symantec’s asserted patents or the technology covered by those patents. 24 Within 30 days of receiving Symantec’s list, for every person identified on the list, Zscaler shall 25 state it has no record of employment or shall respond to Interrogatory No. 8. This resolves Docket 26 No. 125. 27 28 Symantec’s Interrogatory No. 11 is facially overbroad and premature. Symantec has not established how information related to “all of [Zscaler’s] issued patents, invention disclosures, or 2 1 pending or abandoned patent applications . . . covering or concerning any aspect, feature or 2 functionality of each Accursed Product” (Ltr. Br. re: Patent Documents, Ex. 1) is relevant or 3 proportional to the claims or anticipated defenses in this action. Symantec’s request to compel 4 Zscaler to respond to Interrogatory No. 11 or prohibit Zscaler from later asserting that its product 5 is covered by any Zscaler patent or patent application, is denied. This resolves Docket No. 126. 6 Symantec’s Interrogatory No. 12 asks Zscaler to identify each of its defenses and counterclaims in this case. Zscaler argues this interrogatory is premature: Symantec filed a 8 (redacted) first amended complaint on December 22, 2017 (Dkt. No. 131), filed the unredacted 9 version of the document on January 8, 2018 (Dkt. No. 139), and stipulated that Zscaler’s response 10 was not due until January 25, 2018 (Dkt. No. 137). The undersigned agrees Interrogatory No. 12 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 7 is premature. Zscaler shall list its defenses and counterclaims if and when Symantec’s claims 12 proceed past the motion to dismiss stage, and/or when Zscaler answers Symantec’s claims. This 13 resolves Docket No. 127. 14 Symantec’s Request for Production No. 70 asks Zscaler to provide log-in credentials for 15 Zscaler’s Cloud Security Platform.1 Zscaler already has provided the source code for its Cloud 16 Security Platform. Ltr. Br. re: Log-In Credentials at 4. Symantec argues it nonetheless needs to 17 access the Platform to obtain “important evidence, such as graphical interfaces, that the source 18 code does not and cannot provide, and that may in many instances be better evidence than the 19 source code itself.” Id. at 3. Although the undersigned is not persuaded that the burden asserted 20 by Zscaler is significant, Symantec has not established the information it would be able to obtain 21 with the log-in credentials is relevant or proportional. None of the asserted patents teaches 22 graphical-interface claims, and Symantec previously described user interface discussions in 23 technical documents as “largely irrelevant.” Id. at 5. Symantec’s request for log-in credentials is 24 denied without prejudice. The parties are ordered to meet and confer once more (by telephone, 25 videoconference, or in person) regarding RFP No. 70. If the parties cannot resolve this dispute, 26 they may file a supplemental joint letter brief addressing the issues raised by this Order. This 27 1 28 In the absence of any argument that Symantec was prejudiced by Zscaler’s inadvertent six-day delay in responding to the RFP, the undersigned will not find Zscaler has waived its objections. 3 1 resolves Docket No. 128. CONCLUSION 2 3 This Order resolves Docket Nos. 125-128. 4 5 IT IS SO ORDERED. 6 7 8 9 Dated: January 9, 2018 ______________________________________ MARIA-ELENA JAMES United States Magistrate Judge 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?