Plaintiffs Koninklijke Philips N.V. and Philips Electronics of North America Corp. (collectively, “Philips”) sought a protective order to prevent the deposition of its a high-level executive. The Court denied Philip’s motion.
Philips claimed that its executive should not be deposed because she was extremely busy, held a leadership role in the company, and had no unique knowledge concerning the ZOLL Medical Corp.’s (“Zoll”) laches defense. In response, Zoll argued that the executive managed the relevant business unit at Philips and was responsible for investigating potentially infringing products manufactured by competitors, including Zoll.
In denying Philips’ motion, the Court noted that highlevel executives are not immune from depositions if the individual may have unique knowledge pertinent to the issues in the case and alternative discovery devices prove to be inadequate. Zoll previously served interrogatories and deposed a corporate designee, but that discovery did not yield specific information concerning the timeframe in which Philips learned of Zoll’s allegedly infringing products. Accordingly, the Court found that Zoll had good cause to depose the executive.