A Blog About Intellectual Property Litigation and the District of Delaware

Entries for tag: Source Code

Do It Now
Brett Jordan, Unsplash

This happened earlier this month, but I wanted to post about it since this is a recurring issue.

In Rex Computing, Inc. v. Cerebras Systems Inc., C.A. No. 21-525-MN (D. Del. July 8, 2022), defendant filed a discovery dispute to compel plaintiff to supplement its infringement contentions to explain how the cited source code meets those limitations.

Plaintiff responded, in part, by noting that these are "initial contentions while discovery is ongoing." D.I. 94 at 1.

Nonetheless, the Court ordered plaintiff to supplement its contentions to explain how the code meets the limitations:

ORAL ORDER . . . Plaintiff shall supplement its infringement contentions on or before July 18, 2022. Citations …

Source Code
Markus Spiske, Unsplash

Delaware's Default Standard requires defendants to produce "core technical documents" on the accused products, even absent discovery requests from the plaintiff.

These core technical documents "includ[e] but [are] not limited to operation manuals, product literature, schematics, and specifications." Often parties interpret this as a relatively light production of just the core non-public material that a plaintiff needs to make out its infringement contentions.

Sometimes, however, plaintiffs will push back and demand production of source code, saying that a defendant must produce source code as part of its core technical documents.

This is a recurring issue, so I thought it was worth noting that, in Judge Fallon's discovery dispute order that we discussed earlier, she also …

Computer Screen
Arget, Unsplash

As we must have discussed in one of the prior 238,000,000 entries (estimated) on this blog, the Default Standard for Discovery requires an accused infringer to produce it's "core technical documents" early in the case (60 days after the scheduling conference), to allow the patentee to prepare its infringement contentions. This leads to the question of what exactly constitutes a "core technical document?" and, in particular, is source code a "core technical document"?

This question has gone largely unaddressed in the years since the Default Standard was adopted [editor's note: with at least one exception back in 2012]. This week, however, Judge Stark gave us a parting gift of a bit of clarity, holding that …

Fire. I couldn't find an image of raining brimstone.
Fire. I couldn't find an image of raining brimstone. Ricardo Gomez Angel, Unsplash

On Monday, Judge Noreika sanctioned a patentee plaintiff for not following the protective order regarding source code.

Here is what the plaintiff did:

Plaintiff violated the Protective Order at least six times over a period of almost one year by: 1) creating an electronic copy of the source code on July 6, 2020; 2) sending that electronic copy to a vendor that had not signed the Acknowledgement and Agreement to Be Bound by Stipulated Protective Order (which actually violated two provisions of the Protective Order); 3) failing to maintain a log of all copies; 4) storing an electronic and apparently unencrypted copy of the source code …