Apple Inc. v. Qualcomm Incorporated

Filing 375

ORDER on 347 Joint Motion for Determination of Discovery Dispute Regarding Apple's Supplemental Responses to Qualcomm's First and Second Sets of Interrogatories. Qualcomms motion to compel, as presented in this Joint Motion, is GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART. Apple is ORDERED to further respond to Interrogatories 24 and 27, as provided herein, within 14 days of this Order. Signed by Magistrate Judge Mitchell D. Dembin on 3/13/18. (Dembin, Mitchell)

Download PDF
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 IN RE: QUALCOMM LITIGATION Case No.: 17-cv-0108-GPC-MDD ORDER ON JOINT MOTION FOR DETERMINATION OF DISCOVERY REGARDING APPLE’S SUPPLEMENTAL RESPONSES TO QUALCOMM’S FIRST AND SECOND SET OF INTERROGATORIES [ECF NO. 347] This Joint Motion was filed on March 2, 2017. The dispute involves Apple’s responses to five interrogatories. Legal Standard The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure authorize parties to obtain 23 discovery of “any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party’s claim or 24 defense and proportional to the needs of the case . . . .” Fed. R. Civ. P. 25 26(b)(1). “Information within the scope of discovery need not be admissible in 26 evidence to be discoverable.” Id. District courts have broad discretion to 27 1 17-cv-0108-GPC-MDD 1 limit discovery where the discovery sought is “unreasonably cumulative or 2 duplicative, or can be obtained from some other source that is more 3 convenient, less burdensome, or less expensive.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(2)(C). An interrogatory may relate to any matter that may be inquired of 4 5 under Rule 26(b). Fed. R. Civ. P. 33(a)(2). The responding party must 6 answer each interrogatory by stating the appropriate objection(s) with 7 specificity or, to the extent the interrogatory is not objected to, by 8 “answer[ing] separately and fully in writing under oath.” Rule 33(b). The 9 responding party has the option in certain circumstances to answer an 10 interrogatory by specifying responsive records and making those records 11 available to the interrogating party. Rule 33(d). DISCUSSION 12 13 1. Interrogatory 24 14 Apple is asked to identify each Apple invention or technology contained 15 in any of its cellular devices that Apple contends does not rely upon or utilize 16 cellular technology in whole or in part and state the value of that invention or 17 technology on a per device basis. (ECF No. 347 at 2).1 Apple’s response includes a partial list of “features unrelated to cellular 18 19 connectivity such as those related to its unique form factor, touchscreen 20 technology, user interface features, camera technology, touch ID, Apple Pay, 21 app infrastructure, content, software, and many other items.” (Id. at 3). 22 Apple also responds that “just about every feature and functionality in 23 Apple’s cellular devices is important and unrelated to cellular connectivity 24 because every device also works with WiFi….” (Id.). Apple also provides a 25 26 27 The Court will refer to pagination supplied by CM/ECF rather than original pagination throughout. 1 2 17-cv-0108-GPC-MDD 1 three-page list of references to documents under Rule 33(d) which, the Court 2 is informed, are product specifications, user guides, marketing materials and 3 marketing research. (Id. at 7, 9-10). Apple does not provide value 4 information, claiming that the answers are the subject of expert discovery. 5 (Id. at 10). 6 Qualcomm argues that this response is deficient. With the exception of 7 information regarding per device valuation, the Court finds that Qualcomm 8 has the better of the argument. Apple started down the right path, 9 identifying components of various Apple cellular devices that cannot and do 10 not rely on cellular connectivity. But the list was not exhaustive as the 11 response used the words “includes” and “and many other items.” It was 12 incumbent upon Apple to identify its inventions and technologies in each of 13 the subject devices that does not rely upon or use cellular technology. It did 14 not do so. 15 Apple suggests that the “baseless” nature of this dispute is highlighted 16 by the fact that it would have to identify virtually every connectivity feature 17 contained in their devices because those features can operate without cellular 18 technology, using WiFi. The Court disagrees with this suggestion. Only 19 features or technologies that cannot or do not rely upon or use cellular 20 technology must be disclosed. A component that may use cellular technology 21 or may use WiFi, depending upon the circumstances or user choice, 22 eliminates it from disclosure in response to this interrogatory. This 23 interrogatory is directed at inventions and technologies that cannot or do not 24 rely upon or use cellular technologies. 25 Apple’s use of Rule 33(d) here also is deficient. It is not enough, in 26 response to this interrogatory, to identify product specifications and user 27 manuals. Rule 33(d) provides that if the answer can be determined from 3 17-cv-0108-GPC-MDD 1 business records and “if the burden of deriving or ascertaining the answer 2 will be substantially the same for either party,” the responding party may 3 specify the records to be reviewed. The Court finds that Apple has not 4 sustained its burden of showing that the answer to Qualcomm’s question can 5 be derived from the identified records as easily by Qualcomm as it could be by 6 Apple. Apple must further respond. 7 The Court agrees with Apple, however, that the valuation of each 8 technology per device is a question for expert determination. Apple may 9 defer its answer until such time as its expert opines on the issue. 10 2. Interrogatory 27 11 Apple is asked to describe all communications between Apple and 12 Forrest D. Wright concerning any SSO or SSO policy. SSO references 13 standard setting organizations. Mr. Wright, it appears, consulted with Apple 14 and communicated with Apple about SSOs. (ECF No. 347 at 14-15). The 15 dispute regards Apple’s decision to answer the question by providing a list of 16 four categories of communications between Mr. Wright and Apple but 17 without describing the communications. Apple’s answer is deficient. It must 18 “describe” the communications. If Apple is claiming privilege, it must do so 19 in sufficient detail for Qualcomm to determine whether to accept the 20 assertion or challenge it. 21 3. Interrogatory 32 22 Apple is asked to “state all facts” concerning when Apple selected the 23 baseband processor to be used in any given device and when the selection was 24 disclosed to Qualcomm and to any third parties. Almost by definition, this 25 interrogatory is overbroad. Except in a very simple transaction, it may be 26 impossible to “state all facts” surrounding a given event. It is unenforceable. 27 Consequently, the Court will read it, as most do, as requesting disclosure of 4 17-cv-0108-GPC-MDD 1 all “material” facts, recognizing, of course, that materiality also may be in the 2 eye of the beholder. Apple provided a lengthy response to this interrogatory. Qualcomm 3 4 quibbles that the response does not include “all facts” such as, on a device by 5 device basis, who was sent an RFP, who was considered, when a supplier was 6 in a development program, when Apple deselected a supplier, when the 7 supplier was notified of its deselection. (ECF No. 347 at 24). The question 8 asked by Qualcomm does not require that kind of detail in response. Having 9 reviewed Apple’s responses, the Court finds its answer sufficient. 10 4. Interrogatory 33 11 Similarly, this interrogatory asks Apple to “state all facts” concerning 12 when Apple indicated to Qualcomm and any third parties that Apple would 13 be using Qualcomm’s products in a given device. For the most part, Apple 14 refers back to its responses to Interrogatory 32. The Court agrees with Apple 15 that its answer is sufficient. 16 5. Interrogatory 36 17 Apple is asked to identify all Apple email aliases concerning Qualcomm 18 and all persons who have been a member or received any email mailing lists 19 concerning Qualcomm. Qualcomm specifically identified the alias 20 “” Apple responded that the “” alias actually was 21 set up by Qualcomm and disclosed its members. Apple also responded that it 22 has not identified any other email lists or alias concerning Qualcomm. That 23 is good enough. No further response is required. 24 CONCLUSION 25 Qualcomm’s motion to compel, as presented in this Joint Motion, is 26 GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART. Apple is ORDERED to 27 // 5 17-cv-0108-GPC-MDD 1 further respond to Interrogatories 24 and 27, as provided herein, within 14 2 days of this Order. 3 Dated: March 13, 2018 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 6 17-cv-0108-GPC-MDD

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?