Am. Hardware Manufs. Assoc. v. Reed Elsevier Inc., No. 03 C 9421, 2007 WL 1521185 (N.D. Ill. May 14, 2007) (Moran, J.).

Judge Moran denied in part plaintiff’s motion to strike defendants’ confidentiality designations regarding the deposition of defendants’ former CEO.  Defendants designated as "Highly Confidential," among other portions of the deposition, those portions in which one of defendants’ customer contracts (the "Contract") was discussed.  Defendants argued that the terms of the Contract were trade secrets and, therefore, should be given the strongest confidentiality protection available pursuant to the parties’ Protective Order.  Magistrate Judge Mason previously reviewed the designation, held that the Contract was not likely trade secret and reduced the related designations to "Confidential."  Judge Moran agreed with Judge Mason, rejecting the argument that the Contract was a trade secret as "conclusory and vague."  And Judge Moran agreed that the Contract warranted a "Confidential" designation.  Judge Moran also explained that while the deposition and related documents would be protected by the Protective Order during discovery, they would not when the Court ruled on dispositive motion or held trial, quoting the Seventh Circuit:

"Secrecy is fine at the discovery stage, before the material enters the judicial record" those documents that "influence or underpin the judicial decision are open to public inspection unless they meet the definition of trade secrets or other categories of bona fide long-term confidentiality."  Baxter Int’l, Inc. v. Abbott Labs., 297 F.3d 544, 545 (7th Cir. 2002).  Thus, at the summary judgment, trial or appellate stage, documents that have previously been deemed confidential may not retain such a designation.  See Little v. Mitsubishi Motor Mfg. of Am. Inc., 2006 WL 1554317, at *3 (C.D. Ill. 2006).