Small Victory On “Oversealing”

By on December 12, 2017

December 12, 2017

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has been pushing back against a perceived abuse of confidentiality, primarily in patent litigation – filing whole briefs under seal, even if only one word or line in the brief was claimed to be confidential. Now the Eastern District of Texas, a favored patent venue due to its plaintiff-friendly leanings, has announced an amendment to its rules that would require parties to file redacted versions of documents that contain confidential information. Unfortunately for the EFF, the Eastern District of Texas has seen patent filings plummet since the Supreme Court introduced fundamental changes to patent venue provisions with its decision in TC Heartland v. Kraft Food Group Brands LLC, and the subsequent Federal Circuit decision in In re Cray. The chief way the public is able to protest against “oversealing” is to attempt to intervene in a case, thereby forcing the parties and the courts to justify sealing. EFF has intervened in several patent cases for the purpose of providing greater transparency to the public. A party in one of those cases, My Health (My Health  v. ALR Technologies) received the EFF award for Stupid Patent of the Month in May 2016, for its “telehealth” patent. The court agreed to unseal some information in that matter.
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Electronic Frontier Foundation

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