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Autodesk, Inc. v. ZWCAD Software Co., Ltd.

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

March 27, 2015, Decided; March 27, 2015, Filed

Case No. 5:14-cv-01409-EJD

Opinion

ORDER DENYING MOTION TO ADOPT THE HAGUE CONVETION OR IN THE ALTERNATIVE TO MODIFY THE PROTECTIVE ORDER

(Re: Docket No. 52)

Not happy with what it says is the wholesale theft of its proprietary source code, Plaintiff Autodesk, Inc. brought this suit against Defendants ZWCAD Software Co., Ltd. and ZWCAD Design Co., Ltd.1 for copyright infringement and misappropriation of trade secrets.2 That much is not all that unusual; this district is no stranger to such claims. What is a bit unusual is that much of the evidence relevant to the plaintiff's claims is located in the People's Republic of China. To mitigate the risk that discovery [*2]  of its data and documents outside of China may subject it to liability under Chinese state secret and privacy laws, ZWSoft moves for a protective order directing that discovery be conducted under the Hague Convention on Taking Evidence Abroad in Civil or Commercial Matters.3 ZWSoft alternatively seeks an order that ZWSoft's source code already deposited in Beijing be made available for inspection only in China and the parties adopt ZWSoft's amended protective order.4

Because the court agrees with Autodesk that ZWSoft has not shown that a genuine risk of liability under Chinese law or other factors justify the additional protective measures it seeks, ZWSoft's motion is DENIED.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(c)(1) provides that "[a] party or any person from whom discovery is sought may move for a protective order in the court where the action is pending." "The court may, for good cause," issue an order "requiring that a trade secret or other confidential [*3]  research, development, or commercial information not be revealed or be revealed only in a specified way."5

The Supreme Court has "long recognized the demands of comity in suits involving foreign states, either as parties or as sovereigns with a coordinate interest in the litigation."6 American courts considering whether to order discovery from a foreign litigant should therefore "take care to demonstrate due respect for any special problem confronted by the foreign litigant on account of its nationality or the location of its operations, and for any sovereign interest expressed by a foreign state."7

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2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39695 *; 2015 WL 1928184

AUTODESK, INC., Plaintiff, v. ZWCAD SOFTWARE CO. LTD., ZWCAD DESIGN CO., LTD., HK ZWCAD SOFTWARE LTD. and GLOBAL FORCE DIRECT, LLC. d/b/a ZWCADUSA, Defendants.

Subsequent History: Motion denied by Autodesk, Inc. v. Zwcad Software Co., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63610 (N.D. Cal., May 13, 2015)

Motions ruled upon by Autodesk, Inc. v. ZWCAD Software Co., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67940 (N.D. Cal., May 22, 2015)

CORE TERMS

source code, discovery, protective order, documents, state secrets, related document, sovereign, privacy, contends, genuine, parties, discovery request, software, good cause, propounded, secrecy, cases, personal information, district court, overly broad, trade secret, assertions, inspection, requests, Matters, factors, comity