On April 20, 2012, ALJ E. James Gildea issued the public version of Order No. 12 (dated April 9, 2012) denying Complainants’ S3 Graphics, Co., Ltd and S3 Graphics, Inc. (collectively, “S3G”) motion to compel in Certain Electronic Devices With Graphics Data Processing Systems, Components Thereof, and Associated Software (Inv. No. 337-TA-813).

According to the Order, S3G moved to compel Respondent Apple Inc. (“Apple”) to substantially complete its document production by February 29, 2012, approximately three and a half months before the close of fact discovery.  S3G argued, inter alia, that Apple had refused to commit to a mutually agreeable production schedule, that “Apple has only committed to produce a subset of responsive documents, and … that Apple is unilaterally attempting to decide what types of documents to produce, which discovery requests are relevant, and when to produce certain documents.  S3G also assert[ed] that Apple is attempting to shift its discovery obligations onto S3G by requiring S3G to identify components of the accused products that are relevant to this investigation.”

In response, Apple argued that it has, and will continue to, fully comply with the procedural schedule set by the ALJ, and that S3G did not set forth any proper justification to impose an early production deadline on Apple.  Further, Apple stated that “it has not tried to shift any discovery obligations to S3G, has offered to prioritize production to address specific requests, and has prioritized the production of certain documents based on S3G’s requests.”  The Commission Investigative Staff (“OUII”) supported Apple’s position.  In short, the OUII argued that Apple had met its discovery obligations, that there was no indication that Apple will not supplement its document production as discovery progresses, and that “Apple’s proposal to substantially complete production by March 16, 2012 was reasonable.”

ALJ Gildea began by noting that he agreed with “Apple’s argument that the imposition of a substantial completion date for the production of documents is an attempt by S3G to alter the procedural schedule to include a new deadline that is likely to lead to additional disputes and motions practice.”  The ALJ also determined that S3G did not show any delinquency by Apple that could justify an early production deadline, and that Apple’s offer to prioritize production to address specific requests did not amount to a withholding of the non-prioritized documents.