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Memorylink Corp. v. Motorola

August 6, 2010

MEMORYLINK CORPORATION PLAINTIFF,
v.
MOTOROLA, INC., DEFENDANT.
MEMORYLINK CORPORATION, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MOTOROLA, INC., JONATHAN P. MEYER, HUGH C. DUNLOP, THOMAS G. BERRY, J. RAY WOOD, AND TERRI S. HUGHES, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Magistrate Judge Nan R. Nolan

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

This matter is before the court on non-party NovusIP's motion to quash subpoena which claims that the documents sought are protected by the attorney-client privilege and/or attorney work-product doctrine. (Doc. 141). The motion is fully briefed. The court grants in part and denies in part the motion for the reasons stated below.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Memorylink has filed two lawsuits against Defendant Motorola. The original complaint was filed on June 9, 2008 by Memorylink's counsel McDonald Hopkins LLC (the "Infringement Case"). Two patents are at issue in the Infringement Case: U.S. Patent No. 6,522,352 (the '352 Patent) and U.S. Patent No. 6,573,938 (the '938 Patent). The '352 Patent lists Motorola employees Gary Schulz and Jan Wyckoff as joint inventors, along with Memorylink's Peter Strandwitz and Robert Kniskern. The Infringement Case alleges, among other things, that the Motorola inventors were improperly listed on the '352 Patent to gain control of Memorylink's technology that allows wireless transmission of real-time video, that the joint assignment by Pete Strandwitz and Bob Kniskern to Memorylink and Motorola is void as lacking consideration, and thus the '352 Patent is solely owned by Memorylink and infringed by Motorola. Memorylink also alleges that the '938 Patent, which was filed by Motorola on June 24, 1998, was based on technology that Motorola stole from Memorylink. On November 25, 2009, Memorylink filed a second complaint alleging legal malpractice (the "Malpractice Case"). The Malpractice Case alleges that Defendants Motorola and certain of its in-house lawyers committed legal malpractice by acting as patent counsel for Memorylink and while effectuating a scheme to steal from Memorylink the technology that is embodied in the '352 Patent.

On May 14, 2010, Defendants served a subpoena on NovusIP, LLC (NovusIP) for documents related to the present cases. NovusIP is a single-member Illinois Limited Liability Company whose sole member is Paul E. Schaafsma, attorney for Memorylink in the Malpractice Case (09 C 7401). On June 16, 2010, NovusIP moved to quash the subpoena issued by Defendants on the grounds that the information sought was protected by the attorney-client privilege and/or attorney work product doctrine.

In support of NovusIP's motion to quash, attorney Schaafsma submitted a declaration describing his retention by Memorylink and his investigation into the Memorylink/Motorola relationship. The following facts are taken from Schaafsma's declaration. On or about September 26, 2007, Memorylink retained attorney Schaafsma to help structure, negotiate, and draft a joint patent enforcement agreement with Motorola based on the '352 Patent. Schaafsma Dec., ¶ 3. On September 26, 2007, attorney Schaafsma met with Jon Huard, Memorylink's Chief Executive Officer, at Memorylink's Rolling Meadows office with respect to drafting a Letter of Intent between Memorylink and Motorola. Schaafsma Dec., ¶ 4. On September 26, 2007, attorney Schaafsma provided to Memorylink a draft Letter of Intent. Schaafsma Dec., ¶ 5. On October 9, 2007, attorney Schaafsma provided to Memorylink a revised draft Letter of Intent. Schaafsma Dec., ¶ 6. On October 12, 2007, attorney Schaafsma provided a further revised draft Letter of Intent. Schaafsma Dec., ¶ 7.

On October 16, 2007, Memorylink sent the Letter of Intent to Motorola, proposing a joint patent enforcement agreement. On October 25, 2007, attorney Schaafsma filed U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 10/351,906. On or about October 31, 2007, Motorola sent to Memorylink a revised Letter of Intent. NovusIP states that the revised Letter of Intent "demanded that Motorola have a royalty-free license to the patent; that Motorola have the right to issue royalty-free licenses to its customers; that the patent be subject to 'pick agreements' with Motorola's competitors under which a competitor could choose to have a royalty-free license to the patent; and that Motorola exercise veto control over any licensing deals." (Doc. 141, at 5). NovusIP says that Motorola's demands in the joint patent enforcement agreement made it clear that it had no intention to reach definitive agreements with Memorylink to jointly exploit the '352 Patent together as partners.

On November 7, 2007, Memorylink retained attorney Schaafsma to conduct an investigation into the Memorylink/Motorola relationship. Schaafsma Dec., ¶ 8. On that date, attorney Schaafsma met with Jon Huard at Memorylink's Rolling Meadows office with respect to the Memorylink/Motorola relationship. Schaafsma Dec., ¶ 9. On November 14, 2007, attorney Schaafsma again traveled to Memorylink's Rolling Meadows office to review documents related to the Memorylink/Motorola relationship. Schaafsma Dec., ¶ 14. On November 21, 2007, attorney Schaafsma traveled to Memorylink's offices in Neenah, Wisconsin to review further documents and meet with and interview Pete Strandwitz. Schaafsma Dec., ¶ 16. On November 27, 2007, attorney Schaafsma forwarded by email to Jon Huard a document from Memorylink's file titled, "Discussion of Media and Control Data Transport." In this email, attorney Schaafsma asked about the authorship of this document and whether "it supposedly represent[s] Motorola's contribution to the effort?" Schaafsma Dec., ¶ 17. The next day, John Huard replied to attorney Schaafsma, stating that the Discussion of Media and Control Data Transport document "was submitted by Bob Kniskern (Adaptive Micro-Wave) on behalf of Memorylink." Schaafsma Dec., ¶ 18.

On November 29, 2007, attorney Schaafsma sent an email to Jon Huard with the following comments:

* "After reviewing the technical documentation that was used to draft the patent, it seems clear these guys [Gary Schulz and Jan-Michael Wyckoff of Motorola] contributed nothing."

* "As the Motorola patent attorney damn well knew, who should be listed as an inventor is a legal standard based on technological input and the claims, not a business decision based on the sought after relationship between the parties. Unfortunately, Motorola shoving their employees on as questionable inventors means that a defendant will attack the patent on the basis of improper inventors."

* "This layers on an added level of complexity that I need to think thru." Schaafsma Dec., ¶ 19. Also on November 29, 2007, attorney Schaafsma performed an inventor database search in the Patent Office web-site, www.uspto.gov, for additional patents under those names. Schaafsma Dec., ¶ 20. As a result of this search, on November 29, 2007, attorney Schaafsma discovered the '938 Patent. Schaafsma Dec., ¶ 21. NovusIP says that the '938 Patent describes one of Memorylink's prototypes which was shown to Motorola under confidentiality restrictions. On November 29, 2007, attorney Schaafsma sent an email to Jon Huard with a PDF of the '938 Patent with the following comment: "Any thoughts on the attached (check out the inventors and the filing date)." Schaafsma Dec., ¶ 22.

Attorney Schaafsma contends that after realizing that Motorola had improperly added the names of Schulz and Wyckoff as inventors of the '352 Patent and discovering the '938 Patent, Memorylink began to anticipate litigation with Motorola. Schaafsma Dec., ¶ 23. NovusIP contends that November 29, 2007 was the first possible date that Memorylink knew or should have known of its malpractice claim against Motorola.

On December 14, 2007, attorney Schaafsma traveled to Memorylink's offices in Neenah, Wisconsin to review further documents, meet with Jon Huard and Pete Strandwitz, and interview Bob Kniskern. Schaafsma Dec., ΒΆ 24. On December 20, 2007, attorney Schaafsma provided Memorylink with a memorandum ...


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