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Angioscore, Inc. v. Trireme Medical, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. California

January 6, 2015

ANGIOSCORE, INC., Plaintiff,



In June of 2012, Plaintiff Angioscore, Inc. ("AngioScore") filed this patent infringement and state law action against Defendants Trireme Medical, Inc., et al. ("TriReme"). Now before the Court are several motions, all stemming from AngioScore's motion to amend infringement contentions (Dkt. No. 343, 346), to which Defendant TriReme has responded (Dkt. No. 382, 383), and AngioScore has replied (Dkt. No. 393).

Having carefully considered the papers submitted and the pleadings in this action, and for the reasons set forth below, the Court hereby GRANTS in part the pending motions to seal, GRANTS the pending motions to remove incorrectly filed documents, DENIES the motion to amend infringement contentions, and sets forth filing requirements for all future documents potentially containing designated confidential material.[1]


Relevant to the instant motions are the following facts.

AngioScore served its original Infringement Contentions on May 6, 2013. In those contentions, AngioScore listed the known model numbers of the Chocolate PTA Balloon Catheters. AngioScore noted that the list was non-exhaustive and "based on information currently known to AngioScore. The parties thereafter exchanged their "Preliminary Claim Constructions" pursuant to Patent Local Rule 4-2. Claim construction briefing concluded in the fall of 2013 and defendants filed their summary judgment brief in December 2013. Following a hearing, the Court issued its claim construction and summary judgment order on June 25, 2014. (Dkt. No. 218.)

As early as January 17, 2014, AngioScore was made aware of the existence of the Chocolate PTCA Balloon Catheter device that TriReme developed. During a deposition with TriReme's Vice President of Research and Development, AngioScore was informed of the Chocolate PTCA device and its purposes, including in general terms how it differed from other Chocolate devices on the market. In September 2014, AngioScore learned that TriReme had begun to sell the Chocolate PTCA device, and in October 2014, obtained documents showing the structure and use of the Chocolate PTCA device. According to AngioScore, the Chocolate PTCA device is substantially identical to the structure of the Chocolate PTA device that had been identified in AngioScore's original Infringement Contentions.


A. Legal Standard

Two very different standards govern motions to seal depending upon whether the documents are submitted in connection with dispositive or non-dispositive motions. Pintos v. P. Creditors Ass'n, 565 F.3d 1106, 1115-16 (9th Cir. 2009) opinion amended and superseded on denial of reh'g, 605 F.3d 665 (9th Cir. 2010).

For judicial records submitted in connection with dispositive motions, the party seeking to seal the record must demonstrate "compelling reasons" that would overcome the public's right to view public records and documents, including judicial records. Id. (citing Kamakana v. City & County of Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, 1178 (9th Cir. 2006)). A "party seeking to seal judicial records must show that compelling reasons supported by specific factual findings... outweigh the general history of access and the public policies favoring disclosure.'" Id. (quoting Kamakana, 447 F.3d at 1178-79 (9th Cir. 2006)). The trial court must weigh relevant factors including the "public interest in understanding the judicial process and whether disclosure of the material could result in improper use of the material for scandalous or libelous purposes or infringement upon trade secrets." Id. at 679 n. 6 (quoting Hagestad v. Tragesser, 49 F.3d 1430, 1434 (9th Cir. 1995)). While the decision to grant or deny a motion to seal is within the trial court's discretion, the trial court must articulate its reasoning in deciding a motion to seal. Id. at 679. Given the importance of the competing interests at stake, any sealing order must be narrowly tailored. Civ. L.R. 79-5 (a).

However, a different standard applies to private documents submitted in connection with non-dispositive motions, since such motions are often unrelated or only tangentially related to the merits of the underlying claims. Id. at 1180; Kamakana, 447 F.3d at 1179-80. The Rule 26(c) "good cause" standard applies to documents submitted in connection with non-dispositive motions, such as discovery motions, and the court may seal the documents "to protect a party or person from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense." Pintos, 565 F.3d at 1116.

Civil Local Rule 79-5 sets forth the procedural and technical requirements for motions to seal.

B. Discussion

1. Standard Met; Sealing Appropriate

The instant motions to file under seal and to remove incorrectly filed documents from the public docket pertain to plaintiff's nondispositive motion to amend its infringement contentions. Thus, the "good cause" standard enunciated in Pintos v. P. Creditors Ass'n, 565 F.3d 1106, 1115-16 (9th Cir. 2009) applies. Having reviewed the materials sought to be sealed, the Court finds this requirement satisfied. The excerpts sought to be sealed pertain to proprietary and confidential materials of the corporate parties and were produced pursuant to the protective order issued in this case, and thus good cause exists to seal this information. Likewise, the Court finds that removal of confidential materials erroneously filed on the public docket justified. Thus, the Court GRANTS the requests to file under seal and the motions to remove incorrectly filed documents. (Dkt. Nos. 343, 347, 352, 354, 365.) For reasons set forth below, ...

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