Microsoft Mobile, Inc. et al v. InterDigital, Inc. et al
MEMORANDUM ORDER Denying Motion For The Issuance Of Letters Of Request Pursuant To The Hague Convention Of 18 March 1970 On The Taking Of Evidence Abroad In Civil Or Commercial Matters (D.I. 62 ) (see Memorandum Order for further details). Signed by Judge Richard G. Andrews on 3/21/2017. (nms)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF DELAWARE
MICROSOFT MOBILE, INC., et al.,
Civil Action No. 15-723-RGA
INTERDIGITAL, INC., et al. ,
Defendants seek to conduct discovery from Nokia Corporation using the Hague
Convention. (D.1. 62). Plaintiffs agree that such discovery is appropriate, but dispute the scope
of the requests. (D.I. 66). Defendants seek a corporate designee deposition and eleven
depositions of named individuals. Plaintiffs suggest a limit of one corporate designee deposition
and two other depositions of named individuals. Defendants seek eighteen numbered categories
of document requests. Plaintiffs do not object to six of the eighteen.
The parties cite cases suggesting, on the one hand, that I ought to balance the appropriate
factors and make my best ruling; and, on the other hand, that I ought to permit the Finnish
authorities to decide how much is permissible. Perhaps the two views are reconcilable. See
Tulip Computers Intern. B. V. v. Dell Computer Corp., 254 F.Supp.2d 469, 474-75 (D.Del. 2003).
On the whole, I think Defendants have the better of the disputes. In terms of document
requests, I note that part of Plaintiffs' objection is that Defendants have pending document
requests from Plaintiffs for the same documents. Defendants state that Plaintiffs are not
producing the documents they have requested. Defendants also note that Plaintiffs' claims
originate with Nokia. Plaintiffs' position strikes me as the disfavored "hide the ball" approach to
litigation. Defendants object to various requests as being insufficiently specific. This was the
same objection that was made in Tulip, and, in this instance, I agree with Tulip that the Finnish
authorities will limit the document requests if they are too broad under Finnish law. Plaintiffs
object to Requests Nos. 9, 10, and 11 as being "contention discovery." The requests are broad,
but I do not see them as requesting contentions from Nokia. Plaintiffs object to any document
requests that post-date Nokia' s sale of its "handset business" to Plaintiffs in 2013 or 2014. (I
would think the relevant date is when the handset business was actually sold, not when the
agreement for sale was signed.). Defendants make a boilerplate response that such evidence
would be relevant, but I am not convinced. It is their burden to show relevance. Thus, I would
limit the date for document production to documents existing before the sale of the business.
Defendants seek one deposition in Australia and one in the U.K. The topics for the
Australian deposition are the same as for the Finn Juha Putkiranta. The topics for the British
deposition are the same as for the Finn Ilkka Rahnasto. There is no need to invoke the processes
of two other Hague signatories for what appears to be duplicative (to the Finnish requests)
efforts. Part of "comity" is not invoking the Hague Convention unnecessarily. Thus, I will not
grant the British and Australian requests. Within the nine proposed Finnish depositions, there is
substantial overlap. I expect the various topics can be covered by the corporate designee and no
more than five individual depositions.
_ll_ day of March 2017, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:
1. The motion for the issuance of letters of request (D.I. 62) to the Central Authorities of
the United Kingdom and of Australia is DENIED.
2. The motion for issuance of letters ofrequest (D.I. 62) to the Central Authority of
Finland is DENIED AS SUBMITTED. The Court will grant a renewed request submitted in
conformity with the above discussion.
3. The Court invites the parties to schedule a discovery conference if in fact Plaintiffs are
stating that their claims are based at least in part on claims assigned by Nokia Corporation, they
have no obligation to produce relevant documents from Nokia Corporation, and there is some
agreement that provides for Nokia Corporation's assistance or support in connection with the
United State District Judge
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