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Apple Inc. v. Samsung Elecs. Co.

United States District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Division

May 9, 2013, Decided; May 9, 2013, Filed

Case No.: 12-CV-0630-LHK (PSG)



(Re: Docket Nos. 418)

In this patent infringement case between Plaintiff Apple, Inc. ("Apple") and Defendants Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., Samsung Electronics America, Inc., and Samsung Telecommunications America, LLC (collectively "Samsung"), Apple moves to compel third-party Google Inc. ("Google") to produce search terms and a list of custodians that Google used in response to requests for production Apple served on it.1 Because the facts of this case are familiar to the parties and are widely available, the court dispenses with an explanation of that background here. Instead, the court begins with a recitation of the applicable legal standards and then addresses the merits of each motion in turn.


Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 45, nonparties to litigation  [*37] may be served a subpoena commanding them to produce designated documents, electronically stored information, or tangible things in their possession, custody, or control.2 "[T]he scope of discovery through subpoena is the same as that applicable to Rule 34 and the other discovery rules."3 Rule 34, in turn, provides that "[a] party may serve on any other party a request within the scope of Rule 26(b)." Rule 26 states that parties "may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense." The relevant information "need not be admissible at trial if the discovery appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence." Relevance under Rule 26(b) is broadly defined, "although it is not without ultimate and necessary boundaries."4

The court must limit the frequency or extent of discovery  [*38] if it determines that: (1) "the discovery sought is unreasonably cumulative or duplicative, or can be obtained from some other source that is more convenient, less burdensome, or less expensive"; (2) "the party seeking discovery has had ample opportunity to obtain the information by discovery in the action"; or (3) "the burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit."5

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2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67085 *; 2013 WL 1942163

APPLE INC., a California corporation, Plaintiff, v. SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS CO. LTD., a Korean business entity; SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS AMERICA, INC., a New York corporation; SAMSUNG TELECOMMUNICATIONS AMERICA, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, Defendants.

Subsequent History: Motions ruled upon by, Request denied by Apple Inc. v. Samsung Elecs. Co., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91450 (N.D. Cal., June 26, 2013)

Prior History: Apple Inc. v. Samsung Elecs. Co., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53409 (N.D. Cal., Apr. 12, 2013)


discovery, search term, transparency, third party, subpoena, parties, terms, documents, collaboration, Electronics, non-parties