Case Cite

Intellectual Ventures I LLC v. Altera Corp., No. 1:10-cv-01065-LPS, slip op. (D. Del. July 25, 2013)

IPDQ Commentary

When Plaintiff tried to shield damages-related information held by third-parties from discovery, the district court said okay. The court applied the privilege to most of the information under the facts of the case, granting Plaintiff’s motion for protection.

Case Summary

When Defendant sought discovery related to Plaintiff’s acquisition, due diligence, valuation, and licensing of the patents-in-suit, Plaintiff moved for a protective order. Id. at 1-2. The district court denied the request as to one set of documents and granted it as to three witnesses. Id. at 15.

The court decided a consultant to Plaintiff properly relied on the attorney/client privilege when declining to answer question regarding the valuation process because that analysis constituted legal communications protected by the privilege. Id. at 6. Moreover, the witness had described the valuation process generally, but then refused to answer specifically what valuation managers might consider during the process. Id.

The court also granted the motion for protection regarding testimony by a transactional attorney who provided legal advice to Plaintiff related to patent acquisition deals. Id. at 7.

The court granted Plaintiff’s motion for protection regarding a “finder” who was an independent contractor who helped Plaintiff review and negotiate deals. Id. at 9-10. The court first concluded Plaintiff had failed to make the requisite detailed factual showing to establish that a third-party is included within the attorney/client privilege. Id. at 10-11. However, the court then granted the motion for protection when it found there was a sufficient common interest between the independent contractor and the Plaintiff to support the privilege. Id. at 12.

Finally, the court denied the motion as to certain documents, finding Plaintiff failed to meet its burden of establishing privilege as to the documents. Id. at 13.