Autotech Techs. Ltd. Ptnshp. V. Automation Inc., No. 05 C 5488, 2007 WL 2746654 (N.D.Ill. Sep. 18, 2007) (Cole, Mag. J.).*

Judge Cole denied plaintiffs’ (collectively “Autotech”) motion to compel production of defendant Koyo Electronics’ (“Koyo”) touchscreen source code. In Autotech’s Third Amended Complaint – filed without the leave of Court required by Fed. R. Civ. P. 15, but later allowed by Chief Judge Holderman – Autotech alleged that defendants infringed Autotech’s copyrights in its touchscreen display images. Autotech also alluded to source code infringement, but did not explicitly claim it. 

In a later interrogatory response, Autotech stated that it was not claiming that defendants’ source code infringed Autotech’s copyrights, but reserved the right to amend the complaint adding such charges. Because Autotech had not sought leave to add source code infringement claims to its complaint, the Court held that the requested source code was not relevant and production was not required. The Court also noted that the request seeking source code was improper because it was served less than thirty days before the fact discovery close in violation of Local Rule 16.1. It did not matter that the deadline was ultimately extended because the extension was granted after the original fact discovery close and after the deadline for responding to the document requests.

Practice tip: Whenever a Court issues a fact discovery close, get out your calendar, count backward thirty days and mark the last day for serving discovery requests. You would be amazed at how many litigators do not take note of this important date.

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