Revealing Manufacturer Information Does Not Warrant Filing an Amended Complaint Under Seal
In DePuy Synthes Prods., Inc. v. Veterinary Orthopedic Implants, Inc., No. 2020-1514, (Mar. 12, 2021), the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s order to file the amended complaint on the public docket, holding that the identity of VOI’s manufacturer did not constitute a trade secret or otherwise merit confidentiality.
DePuy filed a patent infringement lawsuit against VOI. The district court entered the parties’ joint protective order, designating various categories of information as confidential information. DePuy later filed under seal a motion to amend the complaint, which joined as a defendant the manufacturer of VOI’s accused products. VOI requested to file the amended complaint under seal, arguing that the identity of and its business relationship with the manufacturer were confidential information, constituting a trade secret. The district court held that the information was not a trade secret and ordered that the amended complaint be filed on the public record. VOI appealed.
The Federal Circuit first determined that it had jurisdiction over the appeal under the collateral order doctrine. It then affirmed the district court’s holding that the manufacturer information was not a trade secret. The Federal Circuit also held that the public’s right of access trumped the parties’ interests in confidentiality.