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Academy of County Music v. ACM Records, Inc.

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

December 12, 2013

ACM RECORDS, INC., a New Jersey corporation; ALAN COHEN; and EVELYNE COHEN, Defendants. ACM RECORDS, INC. a New Jersey corporation, Counterclaimant,
ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC, INC., a California non-profit corporation, Counterdefendant.


RALPH ZAREFSKY, Magistrate Judge.

THE COURT, having reviewed and considered the Stipulation re Protective Order attached hereto as Exhibit 1, and good cause appearing therefor, HEREBY ORDERS that the Stipulated Protective Order is GRANTED and shall be controlling as applicable to the discovery proceedings in this case.


WHEREAS, Plaintiff's Complaint asserts claims for trademark infringement and related claims and Counterclaimant asserts claims for trademark infringement and related claims;

WHEREAS, good cause exists to grant this Protective Order. In the course of this lawsuit disclosure may be sought of information which a party regards as being of a confidential, trade secret, and/or proprietary nature. In particular, the nature of Plaintiff's claims for relief, and the counterclaims, will likely require the disclosure of confidential and proprietary information including but not limited to (a) the identity of contacts; (ii) non-public sales and pricing information; (iii) licensing rates; (iv) attorney-client privileged information; (v) business and branding strategy; and (vi) various classes of financial information that could benefit a competitor;

WHEREAS, one or more of the Parties contends that the public disclosure of the foregoing information may or will put the Parties at a competitive disadvantage if such information is made available and known to their competitors or prospective competitors. The Parties wish to fully comply with their discovery obligations without compromising their respective legitimate interests, and the respective legitimate interests of third party witnesses, in the confidentiality of certain information and documentation. Accordingly, the Parties seek to implement a Protective Order to protect their interests;

WHEREAS, this Court has authority to grant this Protective Order. Pursuant to Rule 26(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a court may make an order "specifying terms, including time and place, for the disclosure or discovery"; "forbidding inquiry into certain matters, or limiting the scope of disclosure of discovery to certain matters"; "requiring that a deposition be sealed and opened only on court order"; "requiring that a trade secret or other confidential research, development, or commercial information not be revealed or be revealed only in a specified way"; "requiring that the parties simultaneously file specified documents or information in sealed envelopes, to be opened as the court directs." Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c)(1)(B), (D), (F), (G), (H). Protective orders serve to safeguard parties in light of the otherwise broad reach of discovery. U.S. v. CBS, Inc., 666 F.2d 364, 368-69 (9th Cir. 1982);

WHEREAS, courts routinely recognize that trade secrets and confidential information produced during discovery may be protected from public disclosure. See, e.g., Imax Corp. v. Cinema Technologies, Inc., 152 F.3d 1161, 1168 n. 9 (9th Cir. 1998) (recognizing stipulated protective order regarding proprietary information); Sega Enters. Ltd. v. Accolade, Inc., 977 F.2d 1510, 1532 (9th Cir. 1993) (emphasizing benefits of protective orders which prevent harm by limiting disclosure); Reebok Int'l, Ltd. v. Jemmett, 1988 WL 106933, at *3 (S.D. Cal. 1988) (imposing protective order in copyright infringement case); Charles O. Bradley Trust v. Zenith Capital LLC, 2006 WL 798991, at *2 (N.D. Cal. 2006) (financial records may be included within protective order);

WHEREAS, in keeping with the foregoing, the Parties seek to establish procedures that will protect all confidential and proprietary information while expediting the discovery process, limiting the necessity for objections or subsequent motions seeking to limit discovery and facilitating the disposition by this Court of any disputes that may arise in connection with discovery.

IT IS HEREBY STIPULATED by and between the Parties hereto, by their respective undersigned counsel of record herein, that the following Protective Order shall govern the disclosure of confidential, trade secret, and/or proprietary information provided by the parties in this action.

When used in this Protective Order, the words set forth below shall have the following meanings:

The word "Documents" is used herein in the broadest sense permitted under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. In particular, it means the original (or identical duplicate when the original is not available) of all objects, tangible or intangible, from which information may be derived or discerned, and specifically includes all form of Electronic Data and other information stored on Electronic Media. By way of example only, the word "Document" shall include notes, correspondence, memoranda, contracts, agreements, sound recordings, minutes, diaries, notebooks, bulletins, circulars, forms, statements, journals, letters, telegrams, notices, interoffice and intra office Communications, electronic mail, photocopies, studies, analyses, messages, comparisons, graphs, charts, compilations, drawings, receipts, schedules, summaries, films, photographs, tapes, electronic data, computer data bases, computer codes, computer printouts, software, books, pamphlets, periodicals, reports, notations, messages, cables, videotapes, magazines, booklets, instructions, purchase orders, bills, checks, tabulations, questionnaires, surveys, sketches, working papers, indexes, records of purchase of sale, leases, invoices, expense records, trip reports, press releases, appraisals, valuations, estimates, opinions, financial statements, accounting records, income statements (including consolidated income statements), electronic or other transcriptions or taping of telephone or personal conversations, conferences or meetings, telephone logs, appointment calendars, calendars, group scheduler calendars, paintings, minutes, financial reports, accounting reports, facsimiles, facsimiles transmission reports, or logs, teletype messages, directories, computer directories, computer disks, computer tapes, computer media, or any other written, printed, typed, punched, taped, filmed or other electronic media.
"Discovery Materials" means Documents produced in response to requests for production or pursuant to subpoena.
"Disclose" means to reveal, divulge, give, or make available Discovery

Materials, or any part thereof, or any information contained therein. Any party may designate as "Confidential" or "Highly Confidential - Attorneys' Eyes Only" any document produced by such party by stamping the document "Confidential" or "Highly Confidential - Attorneys' Eyes Only." "Confidential" or "Highly Confidential - Attorneys' Eyes Only" information includes information that (1) is secret; (2) is proprietary; (3) is a trade secret; (4) contains non-public information regarding product research or development, marketing strategy, the party's finances, or the party's personnel; (5) is privileged from disclosure by an individual's right to privacy; or (6) contains other information, the disclosure of which will cause harm to the party disclosing such information. All Discovery Materials designated as "Confidential" or "Highly Confidential - Attorneys' Eyes Only" shall be accorded the protections set ...

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