United States District Court, N.D. California
IN RE KONINKLIJKE PHILIPS PATENT LITIGATION This Document Relates To ALL ACTIONS
ORDER DENYING ADMINISTRATIVE MOTIONS TO FILE UNDER
SEAL RE: DKT. NOS. 666, 672, 679
HAYWOOD S. GILLIAM, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court are administrative motions to file documents
under seal in connection with the parties' briefing on
Defendants' motion for leave to serve subpoena after the
discovery deadline. See Dkt. Nos. 666, 672, 679.
Having carefully considered the parties' motions and
supporting declarations, the Court DENIES
the administrative motions to seal.
generally apply a “compelling reasons” standard
when considering motions to seal documents. Pintos v.
Pac. Creditors Ass'n, 605 F.3d 665, 678 (9th Cir.
2010) (quoting Kamakana v. City & Cty. of
Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, 1178 (9th Cir. 2006)).
“This standard derives from the common law right
‘to inspect and copy public records and documents,
including judicial records and documents.'”
Id. (quoting Kamakana, 447 F.3d at 1178).
“[A] strong presumption in favor of access is the
starting point.” Kamakana, 447 F.3d at 1178
(quotations omitted). To overcome this strong presumption,
the party seeking to seal a judicial record attached to a
dispositive motion must “articulate compelling reasons
supported by specific factual findings that outweigh the
general history of access and the public policies favoring
disclosure, such as the public interest in understanding the
judicial process” and “significant public
events.” Id. at 1178-79 (quotations omitted).
attached to nondispositive motions must meet the lower
“good cause” standard of Rule 26(c) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, as such records “are
often unrelated, or only tangentially related, to the
underlying cause of action.” Id. at 1179-80
(quotation omitted). This requires a “particularized
showing” that “specific prejudice or harm will
result” if the information is disclosed. Phillips
ex rel. Estates of Byrd v. Gen. Motors Corp., 307 F.3d
1206, 1210-11 (9th Cir. 2002); see also Fed. R. Civ.
P. 26(c). “Broad allegations of harm, unsubstantiated
by specific examples of articulated reasoning” will not
suffice. Beckman Indus., Inc. v. Int'l Ins. Co.,
966 F.2d 470, 476 (9th Cir. 1992) (quotation omitted).
parties filed three administrative motions to file under seal
excerpts of their briefs on Defendants' motion for leave
to serve subpoena and portions of declarations and exhibits
in support of their briefs. See Dkt. Nos. 666, 672,
679. Philips seeks to conceal the general nature of its
settlement agreement with Acer, proffering that the redacted
material is “sensitive, proprietary, and/or
confidential” because it discusses the parties'
“confidential settlement discussions, details regarding
the status of those discussions, and the terms of the
settlement agreement between the parties.” Dkt. Nos.
671, 672, 682.
Court finds that this cursory justification does not
adequately plead a “particularized showing” of
“specific prejudice or harm.” See
Phillips, 307 F.3d at 1210-11 (citation and quotations
omitted); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(c). While the
Court understands why Philips may wish to seal such
information, Philips has not provided any authority
establishing that the general nature of a settlement
agreement has been deemed so sensitive, proprietary, or
confidential that disclosure of such information would lead
to a specific prejudice or harm. The Court also finds that
the sealing requests are substantially overbroad, as Philips
does not thoroughly articulate how disclosure of the material
in each proposed redaction would lead to a specific harm or
prejudice. For example, Philips seeks to redact its summary
of court holdings, but court holdings themselves are public.
Philips does not articulate why and how disclosure of this
publicly available information would lead to specific
prejudice or harm.
the parties fail to make the required particularized showing
that specific prejudice or harm will result from public
disclosure of these documents, the Court
DENIES the administrative motions to file
under seal. Pursuant to Civil Local Rule 79-5(f), the parties
may file unredacted versions of all briefs and their
attachments within seven (7) days of an order denying the
administrative motion to file under seal. The parties may
also file renewed motions to seal within seven (7) days
according to the requirements discussed above.
parties wish to file renewed motions to seal, the parties are
directed to meet and confer before the submissions,
coordinate redactions, and submit joint motions for any given
filing the parties wish to keep partially redacted, which
include all corresponding Civil Local Rule 79-5 declarations
as attachments. The sealing requests should be narrowly
tailored and thoroughly articulate the specific basis for
each proposed redaction, including citations to caselaw
establishing that such information is sealable.
Court expects the parties will use their best objective
judgment to file motions that are narrowly tailored and that
satisfy the above standards.