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France Telecom S.A. v. Marvell Semiconductor Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. California

October 3, 2014

FRANCE TELECOM S.A., Plaintiff,
v.
MARVELL SEMICONDUCTOR INC., Defendant.

ORDER REGARDING PARTIES' AND THIRD-PARTIES' REQUEST TO SEAL MOTIONS REGARDING TRIAL EVIDENCE AND TRIAL TESTIMONY INTRODUCTION

WILLIAM H. ORRICK, District Judge.

Plaintiff France Telecom and defendant Marvell Semiconductor have filed several motions to seal material filed in connection with motions to exclude evidence at trial. See Dkt. Nos. 189, 196, 200, 218, 221, 240, 252, 261, 273, 278, 283, 297, and 304. Third parties Nokia and AT&T likewise request that certain confidential financial and technical information relating to them be sealed. Dkt. Nos. 226 (AT&T), 309 (Nokia). Finally, Marvell requests that the Court seal portions of the trial transcripts that contain confidential sales data of third-party Blackberry/Research In Motion. Dkt. No. 301. I discuss the requests in turn.

LEGAL STANDARD

Courts have recognized a "general right to inspect and copy public records and documents, including judicial records and documents." Nixon v. Warner Commc'ns, Inc., 435 U.S. 589, 597 & n. 7 (1978). "Unless a particular court record is one traditionally kept secret, ' a strong presumption in favor of access' is the starting point." Kamakana v. City and Cnty. of Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, 1178 (9th Cir. 2006) (citation omitted).

A showing of "good cause" is sufficient to seal documents attached to non-dispositive motions." In re Midland Nat. Life Ins. Co. Annuity Sales Practices Litig., 686 F.3d 1115, 1119 (9th Cir. 2012). In contrast, because a trial is "at the heart of the interest in ensuring the public's understanding of the judicial process and of significant public events, " a party seeking to seal evidence at trial must articulate "compelling reasons" in favor of sealing. Kamakana, 447 F.3d at 1178-79. "In general, compelling reasons' sufficient to outweigh the public's interest in disclosure and justify sealing court records exist when such court files might have become a vehicle for improper purposes, ' such as the use of records to gratify private spite, promote public scandal, circulate libelous statements, or release trade secrets." Id. at 1179 (quoting Nixon, 435 U.S. at 598. The Ninth Circuit has stated that "pricing terms, royalty rates, and guaranteed minimum payment terms" plainly fall within the definition of "trade secrets" for purposes of sealing motions." In re Elec. Arts, Inc., 298 F.App'x 568, 569 (9th Cir. 2008).

Motions regarding the admissibility of evidence at trial, such as motions in limine and Daubert motions, are generally analyzed under the "good cause" standard, notwithstanding that they relate to the admissibility of evidence at trial. See, e.g., Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., 727 F.3d 1214, 1222-23 (Fed. Cir. 2013) ("we are not aware of any Ninth Circuit precedent applying the compelling reasons' standard to non-dispositive motions regarding the admissibility of evidence at trial. The district court's reasoning-that the admissibility of evidence was a closely contested issue-does not justify departure from the Ninth Circuit's general rule").

DISCUSSION

I. THE PARTIES' MOTIONS TO SEAL

The parties seek to seek the following material:

• Dkt. Nos. 189, 196: Marvell seeks to seal documents filed in connection its Daubert motion to exclude testimony of Professor Cornell. A redacted version of the Daubert motion has been filed and is available to the public at docket number 189-11. France Telecom seeks to seal portions of its opposition to Marvell's Daubert motion. A redacted version of the opposition has been filed and is available to the public at docket number 196-3.
• Dkt. No. 200: France Telecom seeks to seal documents submitted in connection with its opposition to Marvell's motions in limine. The documents contain information describing the internal operation of Marvell's communication processors, the source code for Marvell's accused products, Marvell's internal testing policies, and purchase orders and commercial invoices that contain Marvell's confidential pricing and shipping terms.
• Dkt. No. 218: France Telecom seeks to seal declarations filed in support of its motion for confidential treatment of certain documents at trial. The declarations at issue discuss the terms of France Telecom's licenses. The declarations themselves have no bearing on any issue discussed at trial.
• Dkt. No. 221: Marvell seeks to prospectively seal hundreds of exhibits identified as potential trial exhibits by France Telecom. The exhibits contain (i) source and hardware code; (ii) non-public financial information; (iii) market research and planning/strategy documents; (iv) joint development agreements; (v) technical documents; and (vii) third party documents produced under protective order. The exhibits themselves were not attached to the motion and many of them were never introduced at trial.
• Dkt. No. 240: Marvell seeks to seal documents filed in connection with its motion to exclude Rule 408 evidence. A redacted version of the motion to exclude Rule 408 evidence has been filed and is available to the public at docket number 240-3. The documents at ...

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