Tessera, Inc. v. Toshiba Corporation

Filing 276


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1 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 2 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 3 SAN JOSE DIVISION 4 5 TESSERA, INC., Case No. 15-cv-02543-BLF Plaintiff, 6 v. 7 8 TOSHIBA CORPORATION, Defendant. 9 [Re: ECF 267] 10 Before the Court is Defendant Toshiba Corporation’s (“Toshiba”) motion for 11 United States District Court Northern District of California ORDER GRANTING TOSHIBA CORPORATION'S MOTION TO FILE UNDER SEAL MATERIALS RELATED TO TOSHIBA'S OPPOSITION TO MOTION FOR ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT 12 administrative relief to file under seal materials related to its opposition to Tessera, Inc.’s 13 (“Tessera”) motion for entry of final judgment under Rule 54(b) and for a stay (“Rule 54(b) 14 Motion”). Mot., ECF 267. For the reasons discussed below, the Court GRANTS Toshiba’s 15 motion. 16 17 I. LEGAL STANDARD “Historically, courts have recognized a ‘general right to inspect and copy public records 18 and documents, including judicial records and documents.’” Kamakana v. City & Cty. of 19 Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, 1178 (9th Cir. 2006) (quoting Nixon v. Warner Commc’ns, Inc., 435 20 U.S. 589, 597 & n. 7 (1978)). Accordingly, when considering a sealing request, “a ‘strong 21 presumption in favor of access’ is the starting point.” Id. (quoting Foltz v. State Farm Mut. Auto. 22 Ins. Co., 331 F.3d 1122, 1135 (9th Cir. 2003)). Parties seeking to seal judicial records relating to 23 motions that are “more than tangentially related to the underlying cause of action” bear the burden 24 of overcoming the presumption with “compelling reasons” that outweigh the general history of 25 access and the public policies favoring disclosure. Ctr. for Auto Safety v. Chrysler Grp., 809 F.3d 26 1092, 1099 (9th Cir. 2016); Kamakana, 447 F.3d at 1178–79. 27 However, “while protecting the public’s interest in access to the courts, we must remain 28 mindful of the parties’ right to access those same courts upon terms which will not unduly harm 1 their competitive interest.” Apple Inc. v. Samsung Elecs. Co., Ltd., 727 F.3d 1214, 1228–29 (Fed. 2 Cir. 2013). Records attached to motions that are “not related, or only tangentially related, to the 3 merits of a case” therefore are not subject to the strong presumption of access. Ctr. for Auto 4 Safety, 809 F.3d at 1099; see also Kamakana, 447 F.3d at 1179 (“[T]he public has less of a need 5 for access to court records attached only to non-dispositive motions because those documents are 6 often unrelated, or only tangentially related, to the underlying cause of action.”). Parties moving 7 to seal the documents attached to such motions must meet the lower “good cause” standard of 8 Rule 26(c). Kamakana, 447 F.3d at 1179 (internal quotations and citations omitted). This 9 standard requires a “particularized showing,” id., that “specific prejudice or harm will result” if the information is disclosed. Phillips ex rel. Estates of Byrd v. Gen. Motors Corp., 307 F.3d 1206, 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 1210–11 (9th Cir. 2002); see Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(c). “Broad allegations of harm, unsubstantiated 12 by specific examples of articulated reasoning” will not suffice. Beckman Indus., Inc. v. Int’l Ins. 13 Co., 966 F.2d 470, 476 (9th Cir. 1992). A protective order sealing the documents during 14 discovery may reflect the court’s previous determination that good cause exists to keep the 15 documents sealed, see Kamakana, 447 F.3d at 1179–80, but a blanket protective order that allows 16 the parties to designate confidential documents does not provide sufficient judicial scrutiny to 17 determine whether each particular document should remain sealed. See Civ. L.R. 79-5(d)(1)(A) 18 (“Reference to a stipulation or protective order that allows a party to designate certain documents 19 as confidential is not sufficient to establish that a document, or portions thereof, are sealable.”). 20 In addition to making particularized showings of good cause, parties moving to seal 21 documents must comply with the procedures established by Civ. L.R. 79-5. Pursuant to Civ. L.R. 22 79-5(b), a sealing order is appropriate only upon a request that establishes the document is 23 “sealable,” or “privileged or protectable as a trade secret or otherwise entitled to protection under 24 the law.” “The request must be narrowly tailored to seek sealing only of sealable material, and 25 must conform with Civil L.R. 79-5(d).” Civ. L.R. 79-5(b). In part, Civ. L.R. 79-5(d) requires the 26 submitting party to attach a “proposed order that is narrowly tailored to seal only the sealable 27 material” which “lists in table format each document or portion thereof that is sought to be 28 sealed,” Civ. L.R. 79-5(d)(1)(b), and an “unredacted version of the document” that indicates “by 2 1 highlighting or other clear method, the portions of the document that have been omitted from the 2 redacted version.” Civ. L.R. 79-5(d)(1)(d). “Within 4 days of the filing of the Administrative 3 Motion to File Under Seal, the Designating Party must file a declaration as required by subsection 4 79-5(d)(1)(A) establishing that all of the designated material is sealable.” Civ. L.R. 79-5(e)(1). 5 6 II. DISCUSSION Because the sealing motion at issue relates to Toshiba’s opposition to Tessera’s Rule 54(b) 7 Motion, which is more than tangentially related to the merits of the case, the instant motion is 8 resolved under the compelling reasons standard. Toshiba seeks to seal Exhibit 2 to the Declaration of Amy Liang in Support of Toshiba’s 10 opposition to Tessera’s Rule 54(b) Motion. Mot. 1. Exhibit 2 is a copy of Tessera’s response to 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 9 Toshiba’s third set of interrogatories, and contains information pertaining to the terms and royalty 12 obligations involved in confidential license agreements between Toshiba and Tessera. Qiu Decl. ¶ 13 4, ECF 267-1. The Exhibit also contains information pertaining to the findings of confidential 14 royalty compliance inspections allegedly pursuant to the confidential license agreements. Id. 15 Although Tessera has designated this Exhibit as confidential, both parties make effort to prevent 16 disclosure of the information contained therein. Id. Moreover, Toshiba declares that public 17 disclosure of Exhibit 2 may cause competitive harm to Toshiba, Tessera, and related third parties 18 by revealing their confidential business strategies. Id. 19 The Court finds these reasons compelling and the request narrowly tailored. Accordingly, 20 the Court GRANTS Toshiba’s motion to seal Exhibit 2 to its opposition to Tessera’s Rule 54(b) 21 Motion. 22 IT IS SO ORDERED. 23 24 25 26 Dated: December 27, 2016 ______________________________________ BETH LABSON FREEMAN United States District Judge 27 28 3

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