The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Jean P. Rosenbluth United States District Court Judge
ORDER GOVERNING THE DESIGNATION AND HANDLING OF CONFIDENTIAL MATERIALS
PURSUANT to stipulation of the parties it is hereby ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED that Plaintiff EDCO PLASTICS, INC., a California corporation ("EDCO"), by and through its attorneys, and Defendants ALLYNCE, INC., a California corporation; CASSANDRA SAMANO, an individual; RALPH DUDLEY, an individual (collectively, ALLYNCE, INC. CASSANDRA SAMANO, and RALPH DUDLEY are referred to herein as "ALLYNCE"); DISPENSING DYNAMICS INTERNATIONAL ("DDI"), a California corporation, previously known as PERRIN MANUFACTURING COMPANY, by and through their attorneys, in order to protect the disclosure of commercially sensitive information, including confidential information, trade secrets and proprietary information, based on stipulation of the parties to this action by and through their attorneys of record, stipulated as follows:
The parties to this case are former and/or present competitors in the business of making, marketing and selling license plate frames. Because of the parties' status as former and/or present competitors, confidential business information such as sales data, customer lists, cost-of-goods sold, pricing, manufacturing agreements, information and materials that qualify as trade secrets under California Civil Code § 3426.1, and other, similar information must necessarily be protected from disclosure to opposing parties and/or other competitors in the market, so as to avoid significant competitive harm.
The threshold issues in the first amended complaint center on the whether or not Plaintiff EDCO owns a valid patent, whether or not any such patent rights have been infringed by Defendant ALLYNCE, whether there was an invalidating disclosure or sale of the patented product more than one year before the application date for the patent-in-suit, and whether Defendant DDI made actionably false representations and warranties to the USPTO during patent prosecution and/or to EDCO in connection with the sale of certain assets to EDCO in 2009.
Resolution of these issues and the associated damages analysis will likely require evidence of sales information, cost information, any marketing information or research, and customer lists, at a minimum, to be disclosed, at minimum, to opposing counsel. This proposed Order is geared towards allowing resolution of the factual and legal issues without imposing undue competitive harm on the parties.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 26(c)(1)(G) permits the grant of a protective order upon a showing of good cause, and provides that the protection of a trade secret or other confidential commercial information is a proper basis for the issuance of a protective order. The party seeking such an order must demonstrate a particular and specific need for the protective order. Gray v. Rodewald, 133 F.R.D. 39, 40 (N.D. Cal. 1990).
A protective order that focuses on preventing disclosure of particular information, e.g. confidential business information, where disclosure would "likely cause serious harm," is supported by good cause. Hayden v. Siemens Medical Systems, Inc., 106 F.R.D. 551, 556, (S.D.N.Y. 1985). To support a showing of good cause, however, a protective order must be sufficiently tailored in the information it seeks to protect, e.g. by designating certain classes or types of information. Id.
A "blanket" protective order, as opposed to a broader "umbrella" protective order, "permits the parties to protect documents that they in good faith believe contain trade secrets or other confidential commercial information. Such protective orders are routinely agreed to by the parties and approved by the courts in commercial litigation, especially in cases between direct competitors." Bayer AG and Miles Inc. v. Barr Laboratories, Inc., 162 F.R.D. 456, 465, (S.D.N.Y. 1995).
The parties' proposed protective order was drafted specifically to protect the disclosure of each party's commercially sensitive sales information and other confidential business information, as set forth above and below. Confidential information under this agreement is specifically defined below. Such information, under the proposed protective order, may be designated CONFIDENTIAL or CONFIDENTIAL ATTORNEY EYES ONLY, and is open to challenge by either party, any third party, or the public.
Based on the foregoing demonstration of good cause in support of the parties' Stipulated Protective Order, this Order should be granted by the Court to protect the parties' confidential business information.
Statement Re: Order Governing the Designation and Handling of
This Stipulation for Order Governing the Designation and Handling of Confidential Materials and Order ("Order") shall govern the use of information designated Confidential or Confidential -- Attorneys' Eyes Only that is produced during discovery in this proceeding (Edco Plastics v. Allynce, Inc., U.S.D.C., Central District of California, Case No. SACV12-1168 JVS (JPRx)). For purposes of this Order, the party designating information, documents, deposition testimony, affidavits, materials or items as Confidential or Confidential -- Attorneys' Eyes Only bears the burden of establishing the confidentiality of all such information, documents, materials or items. PROVIDED THAT nothing contained in this Order shall affect other parties or entities who are NOT signatories to this Order (except that other parties or entities served with a subpoena by one of the parties to this case may operate under the auspices of this Order). Until and unless such other parties or entities execute a similar order, no documents required by such other parties or entities to be maintained as Confidential or Confidential -- Attorneys' Eyes Only shall be disclosed. 1. For the purposes of this Order, "Confidential" information means the following types of documents and information:
(a) information that constitutes a trade secret in accordance with California Civil Code §3426.1;
(b) non-public communications with regulators or governmental bodies that are intended to be kept confidential and/or are protected from disclosure by statute or regulation;
(c) information, materials, customer lists, prospective customer lists, product information, sales information, and/or other documents reflecting non-public business or financial strategies, and/or confidential competitive information which, if disclosed, would result in prejudice or harm to the disclosing party; and
(d) any other documents or materials which a party determines in good faith should be designated as Confidential according to applicable law.
2. Confidential documents shall be so designated by stamping copies of the document produced to a party with one of the following legends: "CONFIDENTIAL -- SUBJECT TO ORDER GOVERNING THE DESIGNATION AND HANDLING OF CONFIDENTIAL MATERIALS" or "CONFIDENTIAL", or "HIGHLY ...