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Judge Sue L. Robinson: No Waiver of Attorney-Client Privilege

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Plaintiff moved to compel certain communications between the defendant and its third-party supplier on the grounds that these communications are not subject to the common interest privilege or joint defense strategy. Robert Bosch LLC v. Pylon Manufacturing Corp., C.A. No. 08-542-SLR, Memo. Order (D. Del. Dec. 23, 2009). The Court found that there was no waiver of the privilege where the documents contained the “possible disclosure of attorney advice obtained by a third party [not defendant] and related to [defendant], rather than [defendant] disclosing advice from its counsel.” Id. at 13. Furthermore, these documents involve patents other than the patents-in-suit and the opinions provided are “very general, broad and nonspecific.” Therefore, defendant’s production of these documents is not a waiver of the attorney-client privilege on infringement and invalidity. Id. at 14.

Plaintiff further argued that regardless of any waiver or lack thereof, these documents are not subject to any other form of privilege and therefore any redacted or withheld communications between the defendant, its third-party supplier and defendant’s counsel should be produced. Id. The Court found that there was an understanding that the defendant and the supplier were using the same counsel to address concerns about possible patent liability and therefore a “joint-client relationship” exists supporting the claims of privilege. Id. at 14-15. Judge Robinson further noted, that the “fact that this arrangement was not memorialized in written form until later does not defeat the relationship…and the protection of the attorney-client privilege.” Id. at 14.

Robert Bosch LLC v. Pylon Manufacturing Corp., C.A. No. 08-542-SLR, Memo. Order (D. Del. Dec. 23, 2009).

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