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Apple Request to Seal Financials

Apple Request to Seal Financials

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Published by Mikey Campbell

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Published by: Mikey Campbell on Oct 18, 2012
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Case No.: 11-CV-01846-LHKORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART MOTION TO SEAL AND GRANTING IN PART ANDDENYING IN PART REQUEST FOR STAY
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   F  o  r   t   h  e   N  o  r   t   h  e  r  n   D   i  s   t  r   i  c   t  o   f   C  a   l   i   f  o  r  n   i  a
 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTNORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIASAN JOSE DIVISIONAPPLE, INC., a California corporation,Plaintiff,v.SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS CO., LTD., aKorean corporation; SAMSUNGELECTRONICS AMERICA, INC., a New York corporation; SAMSUNGTELECOMMUNICATIONS AMERICA, LLC,a Delaware limited liability company,Defendants.)))))))))))))))Case No.: 11-CV-01846-LHKORDER GRANTING IN PART ANDDENYING IN PART MOTION TO SEALAND GRANTING IN PART ANDDENYING IN PART REQUEST FORSTAYBefore the Court is Apple’s motion to seal portions of its Motion for DamagesEnhancements and Permanent Injunction (“Damages Motion”) and a range of documents filed insupport thereof. Apple also moves to seal some information pursuant to Civil Local Rule 79-5(d),on grounds that Samsung has designated it as confidential. For the reasons stated below, the courtGRANTS in part and DENIES in part Apple’s motion to seal, and GRANTS in part and DENIESin part Apple’s request to stay the effect of this Order.
I.
 
Background
 On August 9, 2012, the Court issued an order addressing the litigants’ and third parties’motions to seal that had been filed to that point (hereafter “August 9 Order”). ECF No. 1649. In
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Case No.: 11-CV-01846-LHKORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART MOTION TO SEAL AND GRANTING IN PART ANDDENYING IN PART REQUEST FOR STAY
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the August 9 Order, the Court laid out several categories of information that were sealable underNinth Circuit law. Specifically, the Court addressed Apple’s request to seal its financialinformation, including product-specific profits, profit margins, unit sales, revenue, and costs.
See
 August 9 Order at 5. The Court ruled that it was “not persuaded that Apple’s interest in sealing itsfinancial data outweighs the public’s interest in accessing this information,”
id.
, and that “thefinancial information that Apple seeks to seal is essential to each party’s damages calculations,”thus increasing its value to the public.
 Id.
at 6. Accordingly, the Court denied Apple’s motion toseal a range of documents containing this type of financial information.Apple then appealed this denial to the Federal Circuit. This Court stayed its August 9Order with regard to the financial information until the Federal Circuit ruled on the parties’motions to stay. ECF No. 1754. The Federal Circuit stayed this Court’s August 9 Order pendingfinal resolution of the Appeal. Federal Circuit Case No. 12-1600, Dkt. No. 39. Thus, as of now,the information remains sealed.
II.
 
Legal Standard
As this Court has explained in its previous sealing orders in this case, courts haverecognized a “general right to inspect and copy public records and documents, including judicialrecords and documents.”
 Nixon v. Warner Commc’ns, Inc.
, 435 U.S. 589, 597 & n.7 (1978).“Unless a particular court record is one ‘traditionally kept secret,’ a ‘strong presumption in favor of access’ is the starting point.
Kamakana v. City and Cnty. of Honolulu
, 447 F.3d 1172, 1178 (9thCir. 2006) (quoting
Foltz v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins.
 
Co.
, 331 F.3d 1122, 1135 (9th Cir. 2003)).In order to overcome this strong presumption, a party seeking to seal a judicial record mustarticulate justifications for sealing that outweigh the public policies favoring disclosure.
See id.
at1178-79. Because the public’s interest in non-dispositive motions is relatively low, a party seekingto seal a document attached to a non-dispositive motion need only demonstrate “good cause.”
Pintos v. Pac. Creditors Ass’n
, 605 F.3d 665, 678 (9th Cir. 2010) (applying “good cause” standardto all non-dispositive motions, because such motions “‘are often unrelated, or only tangentiallyrelated, to the underlying cause of action’” (citing
Kamakana
, 447 F.3d at 1179)).
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Case No.: 11-CV-01846-LHKORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART MOTION TO SEAL AND GRANTING IN PART ANDDENYING IN PART REQUEST FOR STAY
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Conversely, “the resolution of a dispute on the merits, whether by trial or summary judgment, is at the heart of the interest in ensuring the ‘public’s understanding of the judicialprocess and of significant public events.’”
Kamakana
, 447 F.3d at 1179 (quoting
Valley Broadcasting Co. v. U.S. Dist. Court for Dist. of Nev.
, 798 F.2d 1289, 1294 (9th Cir. 1986)). Thus,a party seeking to seal a judicial record attached to a dispositive motion or presented at trial mustarticulate “compelling reasons” in favor of sealing.
See id.
at 1178. “In general, ‘compellingreasons’ . . . exist when such ‘court files might have become a vehicle for improper purposes,’ suchas the use of records to . . . release trade secrets.”
 Id.
at 1179 (citing
 Nixon
, 435 U.S. at 598). TheNinth Circuit has adopted the Restatement’s definition of “trade secret” for purposes of sealing,holding that “[a] ‘trade secret may consist of any formula, pattern, device or compilation of information which is used in one’s business, and which gives him an opportunity to obtain anadvantage over competitors who do not know or use it.”
 In re Electronic Arts
, 298 Fed. App’x568, 569-70 (9th Cir. 2008) (quoting
 Restatement of Torts
§ 757, cmt. b). Additionally,“compelling reasons” may exist if sealing is required to prevent judicial documents from beingused “‘as sources of business information that might harm a litigant's competitive standing.’”
 Id.
at569 (9th Cir. 2008) (citing
 Nixon
, 435 U.S. at 598).As this Court has previously ruled, motions concerning the remedies to be awarded in thiscase cannot fairly be characterized as “unrelated, or only tangentially related, to the underlyingcause of action.”
Kamakana,
447 F. 3d at 1179. To the contrary, these motions implicate the verycore of Apple's claims and Apple's desired relief in bringing suit against Samsung. As evidencedby the plethora of media and general public scrutiny of the preliminary injunction proceedings andthe trial, the public has a significant interest in these court filings, and therefore the strongpresumption of public access applies
.
Accordingly, the “compelling reasons” standard applies toApple’s Damages Motion, and to documents supporting it.
III.
 
ANALYSIS
A.
 
Motion Pursuant to Civil Local Rule 79-5(d)
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