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Wednesday, May 22, 2024 | Back issues
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In 3G Patent Spat, Apple Requests for Seals Narrowed

SAN JOSE, Calif. (CN) - Most of the 44 documents Apple wants to seal in a patent dispute over 3G technology lack information sensitive enough to warrant secrecy, a federal magistrate ruled.

Golden Bridge Technology sued Apple and more than a dozen other tech companies in 2012 over patents designed to make the 3G environment faster and more efficient. Apple made nine administrative motions to seal 44 Golden Bridge-filed documents, most relating to exhibits of the company's damages expert that Apple said contained sensitive business information.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal said Monday, however, that there is "a strong presumption in favor of public access."

Even in the case of records only tangentially related to the action, Apple has to provide more than "broad allegations of harm" to win a sealing order, according to the ruling.

"A protective order sealing the documents during discovery may reflect the court's previous determination that good cause exists to keep the documents sealed, but a blanket protective order that allows the parties to designate confidential documents does not provide sufficient judicial scrutiny to determine whether each particular document should remain sealed," Grewal wrote.

In all, the judge found that only 16 of the 44 documents in question were "narrowly tailored to confidential business information" and warranted sealing. He also accepted Apple's redaction of four others and opened the remaining 24 files, several of which lacked a supporting declaration from Apple.

"A sealing order is appropriate only upon a request that establishes the document is 'sealable,' or 'privileged or protectable as a trade secret or otherwise entitled to protection under the law,'" Grewal wrote, citing local rules of the federal court.

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