Altera Corporation v. Papst Licensing GMBH & Co.KG

Filing 64

ORDER by Judge Lucy Koh granting in part and denying in part 59 Administrative Motion to File Under Seal (lhklc2S, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 8/11/2015)

Download PDF
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 SAN JOSE DIVISION United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 ALTERA CORPORATION, Plaintiff, 13 14 15 16 Case No. 14-CV-04794-LHK ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART MOTION TO SEAL v. Re: Dkt. No. 59 PAPST LICENSING GMBH & CO.KG, Defendant. 17 18 Before the Court is an administrative motion to seal a patent purchase agreement and 19 related documents, filed in connection with Defendant Papst Licensing GMBH & Co.KG’s motion 20 to dismiss. ECF No. 59 (“Motion”). The Court previously denied an administrative motion to seal 21 the same documents that are now the subject of the instant Motion. See ECF No. 56 (Order 22 denying motion to seal). 23 “Historically, courts have recognized a ‘general right to inspect and copy public records 24 and documents, including judicial records and documents.’” Kamakana v. City & Cnty. of 25 Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, 1178 (9th Cir. 2006) (quoting Nixon v. Warner Commc’ns, Inc., 435 26 U.S. 589, 597 & n.7 (1978)). Accordingly, when considering a sealing request, “a strong 27 presumption in favor of access is the starting point.” Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). 28 1 Case No. 14-CV-04794-LHK ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART MOTION TO SEAL Parties seeking to seal judicial records relating to dispositive motions bear the burden of 1 2 overcoming the presumption with “compelling reasons supported by specific factual findings” that 3 outweigh the general history of access and the public policies favoring disclosure. Kamakana, 447 4 F.3d at 1178-79. Compelling reasons justifying the sealing of court records generally exist “when 5 such ‘court files might have become a vehicle for improper purposes,’ such as the use of records to 6 gratify private spite, promote public scandal, circulate libelous statements, or release trade 7 secrets.” Id. at 1179 (quoting Nixon, 435 U.S. at 598). However, “[t]he mere fact that the 8 production of records may lead to a litigant’s embarrassment, incrimination, or exposure to further 9 litigation will not, without more, compel the court to seal its records.” Id. Motions to dismiss are typically treated as dispositive. In re PPA Prods. Liability Litig., 460 F.3d 1217, 1231 (9th Cir. 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 2006). 12 Furthermore, pursuant to Rule 26(c), a trial court has broad discretion to permit sealing of 13 court documents for, inter alia, the protection of “a trade secret or other confidential research, 14 development, or commercial information.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(c)(1)(G). The Ninth Circuit has 15 adopted the definition of “trade secrets” set forth in the Restatement of Torts, holding that “[a] 16 trade secret may consist of any formula, pattern, device or compilation of information which is 17 used in one’s business, and which gives him an opportunity to obtain an advantage over 18 competitors who do not know or use it.” Clark v. Bunker, 453 F.2d 1006, 1009 (9th Cir. 1972) 19 (quoting Restatement (First) of Torts § 757 cmt. b). “Generally [a trade secret] relates to the 20 production of goods. . . . It may, however, relate to the sale of goods or to other operations in the 21 business. . . .” Id. (ellipses in original). In addition, the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized that 22 sealing may be justified to prevent judicial documents from being used “as sources of business 23 information that might harm a litigant’s competitive standing.” Nixon, 435 U.S. at 598. 24 In addition, parties moving to seal documents must comply with the procedures established 25 by Civil Local Rule 79-5. Pursuant to that rule, a sealing order is appropriate only upon a request 26 that establishes the document is “sealable,” or “privileged or protectable as a trade secret or 27 otherwise entitled to protection under the law.” Civ. L. R. 79-5(b). “The request must be narrowly 28 2 Case No. 14-CV-04794-LHK ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART MOTION TO SEAL 1 tailored to seek sealing only of sealable material, and must conform with Civil L.R. 79-5(d).” Id. 2 Civil Local Rule 79-5(d), moreover, requires the submitting party to attach a “proposed order that 3 is narrowly tailored to seal only the sealable material” and that “lists in table format each 4 document or portion thereof that is sought to be sealed,” as well as an “unredacted version of the 5 document” that “indicate[s], by highlighting or other clear method, the portions of the document 6 that have been omitted from the redacted version.” Id. 7 With these standards in mind, the Court rules on the instant Motion as follows: 8 9 Motion to Seal ECF No. 59 59-4 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 Document to be Sealed Certain portions of Exhibit K to the Declaration of Alessa Phang in Support of Altera’s Amended Opposition 12 Ruling GRANTED as to the proposed redactions on Page 2, § 2.1; Page 11, § 2.1; Page 27; and Page 39. Otherwise DENIED WITH PREJUDICE because the material sought to be sealed is not sealable. 13 14 IT IS SO ORDERED. 15 16 17 18 Dated: August 11, 2015 ______________________________________ LUCY H. KOH United States District Judge 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3 Case No. 14-CV-04794-LHK ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART MOTION TO SEAL

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?