In William F. Shea, LLC v. Bonutti Research, Inc., No. 10-0615 (S.D. Ohio Apr. 4, 2013), the district court held that a patent holder’s communications with the patent acquirer prior to the sale regarding potential infringement issues were protected from discovery by third parties pursuant to the common interest exception to the attorney-client privilege. In this case, plaintiff argued that the patent holder, BRI, waived any otherwise applicable privileges with respect to documents that BRI disclosed to the patent acquirer, Acacia, during their arms-length transaction. Applying a broad approach to the common interest doctrine, the court held that the common interest doctrine applied because BRI and Acacia shared a common interest in the enforceability of the patent that was being sold. The court rejected decisions in other jurisdictions that limit the common interest doctrine to situations in which parties share an identity of legal interest, which is never the case in an arms-length transaction. Instead, the court held “the common interest doctrine applies, despite the parties being in conflict on some points, so long as the privileged communications deal ‘with a matter on which parties have agreed to work toward a mutually beneficial goal.’”