LunarEye, Inc. v. Gordon Howard Associates, Inc., 9-13-cv-00091 (TXED February 2, 2015, Order) (Clark, J.)
Wednesday, February 4, 2015
Plaintiff Sanctioned for Disclosure of Confidential Information in PTAB Proceeding
The court sanctioned plaintiff for disclosing defendant's litigation budget and corporate revenues in an unrecorded PTAB hearing. "This case highlights what is likely to be a recurring issue as more cases are brought for inter partes review after a patent suit has been filed in district court. . . . [T]he PTAB presumes that all 'documents and things' used in an inter partes proceeding are to be made public, unless it grants a party’s motion to seal. At this time, there is a dearth of case law on the interaction between a district court’s protective order and proceedings before a PTAB panel. . . . Counsel should therefore have taken care to avail themselves of procedures to avoid inadvertent disclosure of protected confidential information such as a motion to seal under 37 C.F.R. § 42.14 or a request that the protective order be modified. . . . Complete good faith compliance with protective orders is essential to modern discovery practices and counsel must temper their zeal in representing their clients with their overreaching duty as officers of the court. . . . Plaintiff is ordered to join with Defendant in a motion to the PTAB, requesting that the information relating to litigation budget and revenues be sealed. Plaintiff is sanctioned in the amount of $2,500.00, which is payable to the Clerk of this Court . . . "