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Mustafa v. Morris

United States District Court, C.D. California

September 9, 2019

NA'IM MUSTAFA, an individual, doing business as THE NONO BRACKET, and THE NONO BRACKET COMPANY, LLC, a limited liability company of California, Plaintiffs,
v.
CHRISTOPHER MORRIS, an individual, and DOES 1-10, Inclusive, Defendant. CHRISTOPHER MORRIS, an individual, Counterclaimant,
v.
NA'IM MUSTAFA, an individual, doing business as THE NONO BRACKET, and THE NONO BRACKET COMPANY, LLC, a limited liability company of California, Counterclaim Defendants.

          PROTECTIVE ORDER

          HON. ALKA SAGAR UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         NA'IM MUSTAFA, an individual, and NONO BRACKET COMPANY, LLC, a limited liability company of California (hereafter jointly “Plaintiffs”) and CHRISTOPHER MORRIS, an individual (hereafter Defendant and Counterclaimant jointly “Defendant”) (Plaintiffs and Defendant hereafter collectively “Parties”) through their respective attorneys of record hereby stipulate and agree as follows:

         1. GOOD CAUSE STATEMENT

         Good cause exists to enter into this Stipulated Protective Agreement because disclosure in this action during or in conjunction with pre-motion meet and confer discussions, settlement negotiations and discussions, initial disclosures, fact and expert discovery are likely to involve production of confidential and proprietary information of the Parties, including, without limitation, highly sensitive financial or business information or proprietary information that has not been disseminated to the public at large, which is not readily discoverable by competitors and has been the subject of reasonable efforts by the respective parties to maintain its secrecy, and for which special protection from public disclosure and from use for any purpose other than prosecuting this litigation would be warranted.

         Specifically, Plaintiffs have filed a Complaint for declaratory relief for noninfringement of United States Patent 9, 986, 865, declaratory relief for invalidity and unenforceability of United States Patent 9, 986, 865, false description, and California unfair competition, intentional interference with contract and intentional interference with prospective economic advantage. Furthermore, Defendant has filed a counterclaim alleging infringement of the 865' Patent and seeking to recover alleged damages by virtue of the sale of products sold by Plaintiffs which Defendant alleges infringe claims of the 865' Patent.

         The parties acknowledge that this Order does not confer blanket protections on all disclosures or responses to discovery and that the protection it affords from public disclosure and use extends only to the limited information or items that are entitled to confidential treatment under the applicable legal principles. The parties further acknowledge, as set forth in Section 12.3, below, that this Stipulated Protective Order does not entitle them to file confidential information under seal; Civil Local Rule 79-5 sets forth the procedures that must be followed and the standards that will be applied when a party seeks permission from the Court to file material under seal. Accordingly, the parties hereby stipulate to, and petition the Court to enter an order concerning confidentiality under the terms set forth by the parties in this Stipulation. This Stipulation is referred to herein as the “Stipulation” or “Agreement.”

         2. DEFINITIONS

         2.1. Party: any party to this action, including all of its officers, directors, employees, consultants, retained experts, and outside counsel (and their support staff).

         2.2. Disclosure or Discovery Material: all items or information, regardless of the medium or manner generated, stored, or maintained (including, among other things, testimony, transcripts, or tangible things) that are produced or generated in disclosures, discussions, negotiations or responses to discovery in this matter.

         2.3. Trade Secret: information, including a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, or process that: (i) derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to the public or to other persons who can obtain economic value from its disclosure or use; and (ii) is the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy, as set forth in California Civil Code §3426.

         2.4 “Confidential” Information or Items: information (regardless of how generated, stored or maintained) or tangible things that qualify for protection under standards developed under Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c) which shall only be disclosed to the parties to this litigation and their respective house and outside counsels, as set forth in section 7.2 below.

         2.5. “Confidential Outside Counsel Only” Information or Items (hereafter “COCO”): information (regardless of how generated, stored or maintained) or tangible things that are extremely sensitive and whose disclosure to any person other than the parties' respective outside counsel, as set forth in section 7.3 below, would create a substantial risk of serious injury that could not be avoided by less restrictive means.

         2.6. Receiving Party: a Party that receives Disclosure or Discovery Material from a Producing Party.

         2.7. Producing Party: a Party or non-party that produces Disclosure or Discovery Material in this action.

         2.8. Designating Party: a Party or non-party that designates information or items that it produces in disclosures or in responses to discovery as “Confidential” or “Confidential Outside Counsel Only.” 2.9. Protected Material: any Disclosure or Discovery Material that is designated as “Confidential” or as “Confidential Outside Counsel Only.” 2.10. Outside Counsel: attorneys who are not employees of a Party but who are retained to represent or advise a Party in this action.

         2.11. In-house Counsel: attorneys who are employees of a Party and who regularly provide legal advice as part of their job duties.

         2.12. Counsel (without qualifier): Outside Counsel and In-house Counsel (as well as their support staffs).

         2.13. Expert: a person with specialized knowledge or experience in a matter pertinent to the litigation who has been retained by a Party or its counsel to serve as an expert witness or as a consultant in this action and who is not a past or a current employee of a Party. This definition includes a professional jury or trial consultant retained in connection with this litigation. Such experts shall sign and date the Declaration attached to this Stipulated Agreement as Exhibit “A”.

         2.14. Professional Vendors: persons or entities that provide litigation support services (e.g., photocopying; videotaping; translating; preparing exhibits or demonstrations; organizing, storing, retrieving data in any form or medium; etc.) and their employees and subcontractors.

         2.15. Non-Party: any natural person, partnership, corporation, association, or other legal entity not named as a Party to this action.

         3. SCOPE OF PROTECTION

         The protections conferred by this Stipulated Agreement cover not only Protected Material (as defined above), but also any information copied or extracted there from, as well as all copies, excerpts, summaries, or compilations thereof, plus testimony, conversations, or presentations by parties or counsel to or in court or in other settings that might reveal Protected Material.

         Any use of Protected Material at trial shall be governed by the orders of the trial judge. This Order does not govern the use of Protected Material at trial.

         4. DURATION

         Even after final disposition of this litigation, the confidentiality obligations imposed by this Stipulated Agreement shall remain in effect until a Designating Party agrees otherwise in writing or a court order otherwise directs. Final disposition shall be deemed to be the later of (1) dismissal of all claims and defenses in this Action, with or without prejudice; and (2) final judgment herein after the completion and exhaustion of all appeals, rehearings, remands, trials, or reviews of this Action, including the time limits for filing any motions or applications for extension of time pursuant to applicable law. Nothing contained herein, however, is intended to limit or prevent parties from introducing evidence at trial to prove its case.

         5. DESIGNATION OF PROTECTED MATERIAL

         5.1. Exercise of Restraint and Care in Designating Material for Protection. Each Party or Non-Party that designates information or items for protection under this Order must take care to limit any such designation to specific material that qualifies under the appropriate standards. The Designating Party must designate for protection only those parts of the material, documents, items, or oral or written communications that qualify so that other portions of the material, ...


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