Bergstrom v. Glacier Bay, Inc., No. 08 C 50078, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Jan. 22, 2010) (Mahoney, Mag. J.).
Judge Mahoney granted in part the parties’ cross-motions regarding production of defendant Glacier Bay’s source code, and denied Glacier Bay’s other discovery motions. Plaintiff Bergstrom sought production of the source code as an OCR’ed tiff document, consistent with other production in the case. Glacier Bay offered to provide supervised access to the code for an expert and one lawyer on a laptop during business hours. The Court held that Glacier Bay’s proposal was unnecessarily restrictive. It would have been unnecessarily burdensome to only allow Bergstrom’s expert access to the 23,500 pages of source code on only a laptop, and to only allow screenshots of selected portions of the code. The Court, therefore, ordered production of the source code in the case-standard OCR’ed tiff format.
The Court also denied Glacier Bay’s request to prevent anyone involved in prosecuting Bergstrom’s patents from viewing the source code. The Court held such a blanket ban was unnecessary, but did exclude one attorney that had both prosecution and litigation duties for Bergstrom from viewing the software.
The Court also denied Glacier Bay’s motion to compel documents related to a failed settlement discussion between Bergstrom and a third party. The Court reasoned that while Fed. R. Evid. 408 was not an evidentiary rule, the spirit of Fed. R. Evid. 408 – protecting and promoting open settlement talks – counseled against production of the requested documents.
Finally, the Court denied Glacier Bay’s motion to compel answers to requests for admissions regarding whether Bergstrom provided certain alleged prior art to its patent prosecution counsel. Compelling those answers would have potentially compelled Bergstrom to breach its attorney-client privilege with patent prosecution counsel.

Continue Reading Court Refuses Unnecessarily Burdensome Restrictions on Source Code Production

According to Chief Judge Holderman during the annual state of the Northern District speech, the state of the Northern District is “good” — click here for the Northern District’s statement regarding the speech. The Northern District was briefly at full capacity, between Judge Dow’s appointment to the Northern District and Judge Filip’s resignation to join the Department of Justice. Other highlights of the presentation included:
The Northern District remains in the top ten districts in terms of median time to civil case disposition at 6.2 months.
Magistrate Judges Brown and Mahoney were reappointed to additional eight year terms; and
The Northern District’s 2007 civil case load remained nearly constant, falling only .5% from its 2006 level.
The Northern District’s steady civil case load is especially impressive in light of the Seventh Circuit’s reduced case load in 2007. The Chicago Tribune’s Ameet Sachdev reported — click here for the story — that the Seventh Circuit’s Chief Judge Easterbrook, during his state of the Seventh Circuit speech, reported that the Seventh Circuit’s case load dropped 10% for the second year in a row. Sachdev noted that federal appellate court case loads had averaged a 5% drop per year since 2000. And Easterbrook explained the Seventh Circuit’s 10% drop for 2007 as based upon two primary factors:
The Seventh Circuit’s district courts saw an overall 6% drop in their case loads; and
The Seventh Circuit’s preference for bright line rules over totality of the circumstance tests made it easier for entities to settle their disputes, saying:
Rules make it easier for private parties to avoid litigation, or settle their disputes, without asking for appellate evaluation in every case.

Continue Reading State of the Northern District is “Good”

Magistrate Judges Geraldine Soat Brown and P. Michael Mahoney were each reappointed for an additional eight year term.* Judge Brown’s reappointment was for her second 8-year term.
Judge Mahoney will serve his fifth 8-year term. He began as a part-time magistrate judge in 1976, and was appointed full-time in 1992. Judge Mahoney is the longest sitting magistrate judge serving in the Seventh Circuit.
* Unlike Article III judges (such as district judges), magistrate judges are appointed to serve for eight year terms.

Continue Reading Magistrate Judges Brown & Mahoney Reappointed

Here is some recent Northern District news:
Judge Coar recently updated his case management procedures (click here to read them) to state that pursuant to Local Rule 5.2(e), parties are no longer to provide courtesy copies of electronically filed papers to Judge Coar’s chambers, except for papers pertaining to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56 or Local Rule 56.1 (summary judgment papers).
Magistrate Judges Brown (Eastern Division — Chicago) and Mahoney (Western Division — Rockford) are both up for reappointment in early 2008. Pursuant to federal law, the Court has established a citizen’s panel to consider their reappointments. Members of the bar, as well as the general public, are requested to forward comments regarding the reappointments no later than January 18, 2008, to:
Magistrate Judge Advisory Panel
c/o Mr. Michael W. Dobbins
Clerk of Court
U.S. District Court
219 South Dearborn St. — Rm. 2050
Chicago, IL 60604

Continue Reading Northern District News

Super Wash, Inc. v. Allen, No. 06 C 50169, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Apr. 20, 2007) (Mahoney, Mag. J.).

Magistrate Judge Mahoney recommended dismissing one group of defendants’ ("Genecor defendants") motion to enforce the settlement agreement and the other group’s ("MJR defendants") motion for judgment and sanctions.  Plaintiff alleged that defendants infringed its trademarks