In re Seagate Technology, LLC, Misc. No. 830.

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
Writing for the CourtMayer
Citation497 F.3d 1360
PartiesIn re SEAGATE TECHNOLOGY, LLC, Petitioner.
Docket NumberMisc. No. 830.
Decision Date20 August 2007
497 F.3d 1360
In re SEAGATE TECHNOLOGY, LLC, Petitioner.
Misc. No. 830.
United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit.
August 20, 2007.

[497 F.3d 1363]

Brian E. Ferguson and Raphael V. Lupo, McDermott Will & Emery LLP, of Washington, DC, argued for petitioner. With them on the brief were Paul Devinsky and Natalia V. Blinkova. Also on the brief were Terrence P. McMahon, Stephen J. Akerley, Lucy H. Koh, and Mary B. Boyle, of Palo Alto, CA.

Debra Brown Steinberg, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, of New York,

[497 F.3d 1364]

NY, argued for respondents, Convolve, Inc., and MIT. With her on the brief were James T. Bailey, Tom M. Fini, and Kevin J. McNamee. Of counsel on the brief were Albert L. Jacobs, Jr., Daniel A. Ladow, Adam B. Landa, and Richard E. Kurtz, Greenberg Traurig LLP, of New York, NY.

Carter G. Phillips, Sidley Austin LLP, of Washington, DC, for amici curiae, Adobe Systems Incorporated, et al. With him on the brief was Pankaj Venugopal. Also on the brief were Constantine L. Trela, Jr. and Richard A. Cederoth, of Chicago, IL.

Karen J. Mathis, American Bar Association, of Chicago, IL, for amicus curiae, American Bar Association. With her on the brief were William L. LaFuze and Michael A. Valek, Vinson & Elkins, L.L.P., of Houston, TX.

Matthew D. Powers, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, of Redwood Shores, CA, for amicus curiae, American Intellectual Property Law Association. With him on the brief was Steven C. Carlson; and Amber H. Rovner, of Austin, TX. Of counsel on the brief was Judith M. Saffer, American Intellectual Property Law Association, of Arlington, VA.

Peter A. Sullivan, Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP, of New York, NY, for amicus curiae, Association of the Bar of the City of New York.

Kyle Bradford Fleming, Renner Otto Boisselle & Sklar, of Cleveland, OH, for amici curiae, Avery Dennison Corporation, et al. With him on the brief were Jay R. Campbell and Todd R. Tucker. Of counsel on the brief was Keith A. Newburry, Avery Dennison, Inc., of Pasadena, CA, for amicus curiae, Avery Dennison Corporation.

Blair E. Taylor, Venable LLP, of Washington, DC, for amicus curiae, Bar Association of the District of Columbia. With her on the brief was Peter J. Curtin. Of counsel on the brief were Robert C. Bertin and Erin M. Dunston, Bingham McCutchen LLP, of Washington, DC.

Hans Sauer, Biotechnology Industry Organization, of Washington, DC, for amicus curiae, Biotechnology Industry Organization. Of counsel on the brief were Scott A.M. Chambers, Patton Boggs LLP, of McLean, VA, and Brian P. Barrett, Eli Lilly and Company, of Indianapolis, IN.

M. Kala Sarvaiya, SoCal IP Law Group LLP, of Westlake Village, CA, for amicus curiae, Conejo Valley Bar Association. With him on the brief were Steven C. Sereboff and Mark S. Goldstein.

Alison M. Tucher, Morrison & Foerster LLP of San Francisco, CA, for amici curiae, Echostar Communications Corporation, et al. With her on the brief were Harold J. McElhinny, Michael A. Jacobs, and Rachel Krevans. Also on the brief were Charles S. Barquist and Bita Rahebi, of Los Angeles, CA.

Joshua D. Sarnoff, Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Law Clinic, Washington College of Law, American University, of Washington, DC, for amici curiae, Electronic Frontier Foundation, et al.

Stanley H. Lieberstein, St. Onge Steward Johnston & Reens LLC, of Stamford, CT, for amicus curiae, Federal Circuit Bar Association. With him on the brief was Richard J. Basile.

Maxim H. Waldbaum, Schiff Hardin LLP, of New York, NY, for amicus curiae, Fédération Internationale Des Conseils En Propriété Industrielle.

Mark A. Thurmon, Roy, Kiesel, Keegan & DeNicola, of Baton Rouge, LA, for amicus

[497 F.3d 1365]

curiae, Houston Intellectual Property Law Association.

Gary M. Hoffman, Dickstein Shapiro LLP, of Washington, DC, for amicus curiae, Intellectual Property Owners Association. With him on the brief were Kenneth W. Brothers and Rachael Lea Leventhal. Also on the brief were Marc S. Adler and Richard F. Phillips, Intellectual Property Owners Association, of Washington, DC. Of counsel was Herbert C. Wamsley.

Michael Barclay, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, of Palo Alto, CA, for amicus curiae, MediaTek, Inc. With him on the brief was Monica Mucchetti Eno.

Roderick R. McKelvie, Covington & Burling LLP, of Washington, DC, for amicus curiae, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. With him on the brief was Simon J. Frankel, of San Francisco, CA.

Patricia Smink Rogowski, Connolly Bove Lodge & Hutz LLP, of Wilmington, DE, for amicus curiae, Philadelphia Intellectual Property Law Association.

Douglas E. Olson, Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker, LLP, of San Diego, CA, for amicus curiae, San Diego Intellectual Property Law Association. Of counsel on the brief was Vicki G. Norton, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, of San Diego, CA.

Thomas S. Biemer, Dilworth Paxson LLP, of Philadelphia, PA, for amici curiae, Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, et al. With him on the brief was Philip J. Foret.

Laurence H. Pretty, Law Office of Laurence H. Pretty, of Los Angeles, CA, for amicus curiae, TiVo, Inc.

Michael K. Kirschner, Hillis Clark Martin & Peterson, P.S., of Seattle, WA, for amicus curiae, Washington State Patent Law Association. Of counsel on the brief were Peter J. Knudsen, Washington State Patent Law Association, of Bothell, WA, and Pam Kohli Jacobson, Betts Patterson & Mines, P.S., of Seattle, WA.

Before NEWMAN, MAYER, LOURIE, RADER, SCHALL, BRYSON, GAJARSA, LINN, DYK, and PROST, Circuit Judges.*

Opinion for the court filed by Circuit Judge MAYER, in which Circuit Judges NEWMAN, LOURIE, RADER, SCHALL, BRYSON, GAJARSA, LINN, DYK, and PROST join. Concurring opinion filed by Circuit Judge GAJARSA, in which Circuit Judge NEWMAN joins. Concurring opinion filed by Circuit Judge NEWMAN.

MAYER, Circuit Judge.


Seagate Technology, LLC ("Seagate") petitions for a writ of mandamus directing the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York to vacate its orders compelling disclosure of materials and testimony that Seagate claims is covered by the attorney-client privilege and work product protection. We ordered en banc review, and now grant the petition. We overrule Underwater Devices Inc. v. Morrison-Knudsen Co., 717 F.2d 1380 (1983), and we clarify the scope of the waiver of attorney-client privilege and work product protection that results when an accused patent infringer asserts an advice of counsel defense to a charge of willful infringement.

497 F.3d 1366
Background

Convolve, Inc. and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (collectively "Convolve") sued Seagate on July 13, 2000, alleging infringement of U.S. Patent Nos. 4,916,635 ("the '635 patent") and 5,638,267 ("the '267 patent"). Subsequently, U.S. Patent No. 6,314,473 ("the '473 patent") issued on November 6, 2001, and Convolve amended its complaint on January 25, 2002, to assert infringement of the '473 patent. Convolve also alleged that Seagate willfully infringed the patents.

Prior to the lawsuit, Seagate retained Gerald Sekimura to provide an opinion concerning Convolve's patents, and he ultimately prepared three written opinions. Seagate received the first opinion on July 24, 2000, shortly after the complaint was filed. This opinion analyzed the '635 and '267 patents and concluded that many claims were invalid and that Seagate's products did not infringe. The opinion also considered Convolve's pending International Application WO 99/45535 ("the '535 application"), which recited technology similar to that disclosed in the yet-to-be-issued '473 patent. On December 29, 2000, Sekimura provided an updated opinion to Seagate. In addition to his previous conclusions, this opinion concluded that the '267 patent was possibly unenforceable. Both opinions noted that not all of the patent claims had been reviewed, and that the '535 application required further analysis, which Sekimura recommended postponing until a U.S. patent issued. On February 21, 2003, Seagate received a third opinion concerning the validity and infringement of the by-then-issued '473 patent. There is no dispute that Seagate's opinion counsel operated separately and independently of trial counsel at all times.

In early 2003, pursuant to the trial court's scheduling order, Seagate notified Convolve of its intent to rely on Sekimura's three opinion letters in defending against willful infringement, and it disclosed all of his work product and made him available for deposition. Convolve then moved to compel discovery of any communications and work product of Seagate's other counsel, including its trial counsel.1 On May 28, 2004, the trial court concluded that Seagate waived the attorney-client privilege for all communications between it and any counsel, including its trial attorneys and in-house counsel,2 concerning the subject matter of Sekimura's

497 F.3d 1367

opinions, i.e., infringement, invalidity, and enforceability. It further determined that the waiver began when Seagate first gained knowledge of the patents and would last until the alleged infringement ceased. Accordingly, the court ordered production of any requested documents and testimony concerning the subject matter of Sekimura's opinions. It provided for in camera review of documents relating to trial strategy, but said that any advice from trial counsel that undermined the reasonableness of relying on Sekimura's opinions would warrant disclosure. The court also determined that protection of work product communicated to Seagate was waived.

Based on these rulings, Convolve sought production of trial counsel opinions relating to infringement, invalidity, and enforceability of the patents, and also noticed depositions of Seagate's trial counsel. After the trial court denied Seagate's motion for a stay and certification of an interlocutory appeal, Seagate petitioned for a writ of mandamus. We stayed the discovery orders and, recognizing the...

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828 practice notes
  • Eastman Kodak Co. v. Agfa-Gevaert N.V., No. 02-CV-6564T.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court of Western District of New York
    • April 22, 2008
    ...Fuer Nutzfahrzeuge GmbH v. Dana Corp., 383 F.3d 1337 (Fed.Cir.2004) (en banc), the Federal Circuit in In re Seagate Technology, LLC, 497 F.3d 1360 (2007) overruled those prior holdings. Now, a finding of willfulness "requires at least a showing of objective recklessness." Seagate Technology......
  • Milwaukee Elec. Tool Corp. v. Snap-On Inc., Case No. 14–CV–1296–JPS
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court of Eastern District of Wisconsin
    • December 29, 2017
    ...was " 'either known or so obvious that it should have been known to the accused infringer.' " Id. at 1930 (quoting In re Seagate, LLC , 497 F.3d 1360, 1371 (Fed. Cir. 2007) (en banc)); see also Arctic Cat Inc. v. Bombardier Recreational Prods. Inc. , 876 F.3d 1350, 1370–72 (Fed. Cir. 2017) ......
  • Apple, Inc. v. Samsung Elecs. Co., Case No.: 11-CV-01846-LHK
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Northern District of California
    • August 20, 2012
    ...a patent.SourceAdapted from N.D. Cal. Model Patent Jury Instr. B.3.10.Authorities35 U.S.C. § 284; In re Seagate Tech., LLC ("Seagate"), 497 F.3d 1360, 1371 (Fed. Cir. 2007) (en banc) (standard for willful infringement); Knorr-Bremse Systeme Fuer Nutzfahrzeuge GmbH v. Dana Corp., 383 F.3d 13......
  • Pecorino v. Vutec Corp., 11-CV-6312 (ADS)(ARL)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • November 30, 2012
    ...forming the basis of a good faith belief that its claim of willful infringement has evidentiary support, citing In re Segate Tech., LLC, 497 F.3d 1360, 1374 (Fed. Cir. 2007) ("when a complaint is filed, a patentee must have a good faith basis for alleging willful infringement. Fed. R. Civ. ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
818 cases
  • Eastman Kodak Co. v. Agfa-Gevaert N.V., No. 02-CV-6564T.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court of Western District of New York
    • April 22, 2008
    ...Fuer Nutzfahrzeuge GmbH v. Dana Corp., 383 F.3d 1337 (Fed.Cir.2004) (en banc), the Federal Circuit in In re Seagate Technology, LLC, 497 F.3d 1360 (2007) overruled those prior holdings. Now, a finding of willfulness "requires at least a showing of objective recklessness." Seagate Technology......
  • Milwaukee Elec. Tool Corp. v. Snap-On Inc., Case No. 14–CV–1296–JPS
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court of Eastern District of Wisconsin
    • December 29, 2017
    ...was " 'either known or so obvious that it should have been known to the accused infringer.' " Id. at 1930 (quoting In re Seagate, LLC , 497 F.3d 1360, 1371 (Fed. Cir. 2007) (en banc)); see also Arctic Cat Inc. v. Bombardier Recreational Prods. Inc. , 876 F.3d 1350, 1370–72 (Fed. Cir. 2017) ......
  • Apple, Inc. v. Samsung Elecs. Co., Case No.: 11-CV-01846-LHK
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Northern District of California
    • August 20, 2012
    ...a patent.SourceAdapted from N.D. Cal. Model Patent Jury Instr. B.3.10.Authorities35 U.S.C. § 284; In re Seagate Tech., LLC ("Seagate"), 497 F.3d 1360, 1371 (Fed. Cir. 2007) (en banc) (standard for willful infringement); Knorr-Bremse Systeme Fuer Nutzfahrzeuge GmbH v. Dana Corp., 383 F.3d 13......
  • Pecorino v. Vutec Corp., 11-CV-6312 (ADS)(ARL)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • November 30, 2012
    ...forming the basis of a good faith belief that its claim of willful infringement has evidentiary support, citing In re Segate Tech., LLC, 497 F.3d 1360, 1374 (Fed. Cir. 2007) ("when a complaint is filed, a patentee must have a good faith basis for alleging willful infringement. Fed. R. Civ. ......
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8 books & journal articles
  • 16 Patent Portfolio Budgeting
    • United States
    • Landslide Nbr. 14-4, June 2022
    • June 1, 2022
    ...inference or evidentiary presumption that such an opinion would have been unfavorable.” (citation omitted)). 4. In re Seagate Tech., LLC, 497 F.3d 1360, 1371 (Fed. Cir. 2007) (en banc). 5. 35 U.S.C. § 298; see also Carson Optical Inc. v. eBay Inc., 202 F. Supp. 3d 247, 260–61 (E.D.N.Y. 2016......
  • 20 How Corporations Buy and Sell Patents to Implement Patent Strategy
    • United States
    • Landslide Nbr. 14-4, June 2022
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    ...inference or evidentiary presumption that such an opinion would have been unfavorable.” (citation omitted)). 4. In re Seagate Tech., LLC, 497 F.3d 1360, 1371 (Fed. Cir. 2007) (en banc). 5. 35 U.S.C. § 298; see also Carson Optical Inc. v. eBay Inc., 202 F. Supp. 3d 247, 260–61 (E.D.N.Y. 2016......
  • Attorney-Client Privilege for In-House Counsel
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    • Landslide Nbr. 10-2, November 2017
    • November 1, 2017
    ...37 Fed. Cl. 599 (1997). 15. See Medtronic, Inc. v. Intermedics, Inc., 162 F.R.D. 133 (D. Minn. 1995). 16. See In re Seagate Tech. LLC, 497 F.3d 1360 (Fed. Cir. 2007); In re EchoStar Commc’ns Corp., 448 F.3d 1294 (Fed. Cir. 2006). Published in Landslide® magazine, Volume 10, Number 2, a publ......
  • Cultural Identities and Territoriality in a Global Marketplace
    • United States
    • Landslide Nbr. 14-4, June 2022
    • June 1, 2022
    ...inference or evidentiary presumption that such an opinion would have been unfavorable.” (citation omitted)). 4. In re Seagate Tech., LLC, 497 F.3d 1360, 1371 (Fed. Cir. 2007) (en banc). 5. 35 U.S.C. § 298; see also Carson Optical Inc. v. eBay Inc., 202 F. Supp. 3d 247, 260–61 (E.D.N.Y. 2016......
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