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Apple, Inc., A California Corporation v. Samsung Electronics Co.

November 13, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Lucy H. Koh United States District Judge


Before the Court is Samsung's motion to seal several exhibits to the Declaration of Terry Musika in support of Apple's Motion for Damages Enhancements and Permanent Injunction 21 ("Damages Motion"). Apple had previously moved to seal those documents pursuant to Civil 22 Local Rule 79-5(d) on grounds that Samsung has designated it as confidential. However, Samsung 23 failed to file a supporting declaration, and the Court denied the motion to seal on October 17, 2012. 24 ECF No. 2047. Samsung has now filed a renewed administrative motion to file a limited number 25 of those same documents under seal. ECF No. 2089. For the reasons stated below, the Court 26 DENIES Samsung's motion. 27

I.Legal Standard

2 recognized a "general right to inspect and copy public records and documents, including judicial 3 records and documents." Nixon v. Warner Commc'ns, Inc., 435 U.S. 589, 597 & n.7 (1978). 4

"Unless a particular court record is one 'traditionally kept secret,' a 'strong presumption in favor of 5 access' is the starting point. Kamakana v. City and Cnty. of Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, 1178 (9th 6

In order to overcome this strong presumption, a party seeking to seal a judicial record must 8 articulate justifications for sealing that outweigh the public policies favoring disclosure. See id. at 9

As this Court has explained in its previous sealing orders in this case, courts have Cir. 2006) (quoting Foltz v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 331 F.3d 1122, 1135 (9th Cir. 2003)). 7

1178-79. Because the public's interest in non-dispositive motions is relatively low, a party seeking 10 to seal a document attached to a non-dispositive motion need only demonstrate "good cause."

Pintos v. Pac. Creditors Ass'n, 605 F.3d 665, 678 (9th Cir. 2010) (applying "good cause" standard to all non-dispositive motions, because such motions "'are often unrelated, or only tangentially 13 related, to the underlying cause of action'" (citing Kamakana, 447 F.3d at 1179)). 14 15 judgment, is at the heart of the interest in ensuring the 'public's understanding of the judicial 16 process and of significant public events.'" Kamakana, 447 F.3d at 1179 (quoting Valley 17

Broadcasting Co. v. U.S. Dist. Court for Dist. of Nev., 798 F.2d 1289, 1294 (9th Cir. 1986)). Thus, 18 a party seeking to seal a judicial record attached to a dispositive motion or presented at trial must 19 articulate "compelling reasons" in favor of sealing. See id. at 1178. "In general, 'compelling 20 reasons' . . . exist when such 'court files might have become a vehicle for improper purposes,' such 21 as the use of records to . . . release trade secrets." Id. at 1179 (citing Nixon, 435 U.S. at 598). The 22

Ninth Circuit has adopted the Restatement's definition of "trade secret" for purposes of sealing, 23 holding that "[a] 'trade secret may consist of any formula, pattern, device or compilation of 24 information which is used in one's business, and which gives him an opportunity to obtain an 25 advantage over competitors who do not know or use it." In re Electronic Arts, 298 Fed. App'x 26

"compelling reasons" may exist if sealing is required to prevent judicial documents from being 28

Conversely, "the resolution of a dispute on the merits, whether by trial or summary 568, 569-70 (9th Cir. 2008) (quoting Restatement of Torts § 757, cmt. b). Additionally, 27 used "'as sources of business information that might harm a litigant's competitive standing.'" Id. at 2 569 (9th Cir. 2008) (citing Nixon, 435 U.S. at 598). 3

4 case cannot fairly be characterized as "unrelated, or only tangentially related, to the underlying 5 cause of action." Kamakana, 447 F. 3d at 1179. To the contrary, these motions implicate the very 6 core of Apple's claims and Apple's desired relief in bringing suit against Samsung. As evidenced 7 by the plethora of media and general public scrutiny of the preliminary injunction proceedings and 8 the trial, the public has a significant interest in these court filings, and therefore the strong 9 presumption of public access applies. Accordingly, the "compelling reasons" standard applies to 10 internal Samsung presentations. In a declaration submitted in support of the motion to seal, 15 "contain Samsung's projections about future demand in the smartphone market and reveal STA's 17 pricing strategy, including the prices at which STA is likely to sell phones in the future." Kang 18 Decl. at ΒΆ 3. Samsung asserts that "competitors can use the information to undercut Samsung's 19 prices and diminish Samsung's market share." Id. The slides, however, do not contain information 20 that is sufficiently specific to create any real risk of competitive harm. Rather, Exhibit 12 gives 21 fifty-dollar price ranges in which Samsung proposes to focus its offerings, and Exhibit 13 22 expresses the belief that the number of first-time phone buyers will exceed a certain level in the 23 next two years. Samsung has not explained, and the Court does not see, how public availability of 24 either of these slides could actually cause any sort of competitive harm. A ...

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