The Risks of Overbroad Motions to Seal

Knobbe Martens
Contact

Knobbe Martens

UNILOC 2017 LLC, UNILOC USA, INC., UNILOC LUXEMBOURG S.A. v. APPLE, INC., ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION

Before Prost, Mayer, and Taranto. Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

Summary: Motions to seal must be narrowly tailored and well supported to overcome the presumption of public access to court filings.

In the District Court, Uniloc moved to seal a large amount of allegedly confidential information referenced in several Apple motions to dismiss. The material sought to be sealed included citations to case law, quotations from published opinions, and twenty three exhibits that included matters of public record. The District Court denied the motions to seal, stating that Uniloc had not provided compelling reasons to overcome the public’s right to the information. Uniloc’s motions were not “narrowly tailored,” and requested an “astonishing” amount of material be sealed.

The Federal Circuit, reviewing the disputed order under the collateral order doctrine, affirmed in part and vacated in part. The Federal Circuit divided the information Uniloc sought to seal into two categories: 1) Uniloc’s own purportedly confidential information; and 2) the purportedly confidential information of Uniloc’s third-party licensees. With respect to Uniloc’s allegedly confidential information, the District Court did not abuse its discretion because Uniloc “fell woefully short” of the local rule requirement to narrowly tailor its request and Uniloc provided only “perfunctory assertions” that the documents required sealing. With respect to third-party licensees, the Federal Circuit vacated and remanded because the District Court did not properly assess whether the public’s right of access outweighed the confidentiality interest of the third parties.

Editor: Paul Stewart

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Knobbe Martens | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Knobbe Martens
Contact
more
less

Knobbe Martens on:

Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
- hide
- hide

This website uses cookies to improve user experience, track anonymous site usage, store authorization tokens and permit sharing on social media networks. By continuing to browse this website you accept the use of cookies. Click here to read more about how we use cookies.