In Skynet Electronic Co. v. Flextronics International, Ltd., No. 12-cv-06317 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 16, 2013), the court held that disclosure of work product to a third party patent agent did not waive otherwise applicable work product protections.  In this case, plaintiff Skynet inadvertently produced to defendant an email addressed to Skynet’s founder and president that reflected preliminary legal opinions from Skynet’s U.S. counsel.  Defendant argued that the inadvertent production waived privileged and, in the alternative, the email chain reflected that the document had previously been sent to a third party patent agent in Taiwan, which disclosure resulted in waiver.  The court rejected both arguments.  First, Skynet satisfied the requirements of Federal Rule of Evidence 502(b) by responding promptly (within two hours of learning of the inadvertent production) to rectify the error.  Second, disclosure to the patent agent did not waive the work product protection.  Disclosure of work product to a third party does not waive work product immunity unless the disclosure has substantially increased the opportunity for an adverse party to obtain the information.  Because it was not likely that the patent agent would disclose the document to a litigation adversary, there was no waiver.