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Are E-Discovery Bills Trade Secrets?

sealed record

 

In a short, but interesting opinion, Judge Lucy Koh of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California permitted Apple, Inc. to shield from public view portions of invoices from an e-discovery vendor concluding they were “confidential terms of [Apple’s] financial relationship with its e-discovery vendor.”

 

In the case, Apple attached the invoices to a bill of costs seeking reimbursement for costs incurred during a lawsuit it defeated.

 

Apple argued that portions of the e-discovery bills (mainly quantities and unit prices) should not be a matters of public record because

the invoices. . . contain sensitive and confidential information regarding the costs Apple incurred in defending against the patent infringement claims. . . These invoices reveal sensitive and confidential information regarding Apple’s financial relationship with its e-discovery vendor. This information is confidential and proprietary business information that could be used by Apple competitors to its disadvantage, as disclosure of the redacted information will reveal confidential pricing strategy and Apple’s financial relationship with its e-discovery vendor.

 

Noting that documents attached to non-dispositive motions do not carry a strong presumption of public access and that courts have broad discretion to protect trade secrets by sealing documents, the court determined the invoices contained sensitive business information and held that Apple had

made a “particularized showing” that “specific prejudice or harm will result” if certain confidential terms of Defendant’s financial relationship with its e-discovery vendor are made public… Accordingly, the Court GRANTS Defendant’s motion to seal as to the proposed redactions to [the invoices].

 

The timing of this opinion is apt as the open letter from Andy Wilson, CEO of Logikcull, an e-discovery software company, sparked spirited discussion about e-discovery pricing and the state of the e-discovery industry in general.

 

 

Posted on July 23, 2015 in Costs and Cost Shifting, E-Discovery, Recoverable Costs

About the Author

Chad Main is an attorney and the founder of Percipient. Prior to founding Percipient, Chad worked as a litigator in Los Angeles and Chicago. He is a member of the Seventh Circuit Electronic Discovery Pilot Program Committee and may be reached at cmain@percipient.co.