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PTP OneClick LLC v. Avalara Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

November 21, 2019

PTP ONECLICK, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
AVALARA, INC., Defendant.

          ORDER ON MOTIONS TO SEAL AND MOTION FOR AN EXTENSION FOR TIME

          JAMES L. ROBART, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Before the court are three motions: (1) Defendant Avalara, Inc.'s (“Avalara”) motion to seal Exhibits A and B, which were attached to its September 30, 2019, letter brief (see MTS (Dkt. # 55); see also Def. Ltr. Br. (Dkt. # 57); Ex. A (Dkt. # 58) (sealed); Ex. B (Dkt. # 59) (sealed)); (2) Plaintiff PTP OneClick, LLC's (“PTP”) motion to redact portions of the October 1, 2019, hearing transcript (see MTR (Dkt. # 80); see also 10/1/19 Min. Entry (Dkt. # 62); Hr. Tr. (Dkt. # 63) (sealed)); and (3) Avalara's motion for an extension of time to file a motion for attorney's fees pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 285 (see MET (Dkt. # 68)). The court has considered the motions, the parties' submissions filed in support of and in opposition to the motions, the relevant portions of the record, and the applicable law. Being fully advised, the court (1) GRANTS in part and DENIES in part Avalara's motion to seal Exhibits A and B (“the Exhibits”) to its September 30, 2019, letter brief and ORDERS PTP to file redacted versions of the Exhibits on the docket, (2) GRANTS PTP's motion to redact portions of the October 1, 2019, hearing transcript, and (3) DENIES as MOOT and WITHOUT PREJUDICE Avalara's motion for an extension of time to file its motion for attorney's fees pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 285 because the 14-day period for filing such a motion under Rule 54(d)(2)(B)(i) is not yet triggered in this case.

         II. BACKGROUND

         Avalara is in the business of selling tax preparation software. (See Compl. (Dkt. # 1) ¶ 14.) On October 22, 2018, PTP filed a complaint in the federal district court in the Eastern District of Wisconsin alleging five counts against Avalara: (1) patent infringement, (2) misappropriation under federal trade secret laws, (3) misappropriation under state uniform trade secret laws, (4) unfair competition under Wisconsin statutory law, and (5) breach of contract. (Id. ¶¶ 55-81.) On April 30, 2018, the court transferred PTP's complaint to the Western District of Washington. (See 4/30/18 Order (Dkt. # 25).)

         On November 7, 2018, Avalara filed a motion to dismiss PTP's claims. (MTD (Dkt. # 8).) On September 27, 2019, the court granted Avalara's motion on PTP's patent infringement claim and dismissed the claim with prejudice. (9/27/19 Order (Dkt. # 54) at 22, 32-33.) The court ruled that the patent claims at issue “fail[ed] the two-part Alice test, [we]re directed to an abstract concept, and therefore [we]re not patentable.” (Id. at 22); see also Alice Corp. Party Ltd. v. CLS Bank Int'l, 573 U.S. 208, 216-18 (2014). The court also granted Avalara's motion on PTP's claim for unfair competition under Wis.Stat. § 100.20 and dismissed the claim with prejudice. (Id. at 32-33.) The court denied Avalara's motion to dismiss with respect to the remainder of PTP's claim. (Id.)

         Under 35 U.S.C. § 285, the court “in exceptional cases may award reasonable attorney fees to the prevailing party” in a patent infringement suit. See 35 U.S.C. § 285. A prevailing party, however, must file such a motion within 14 days after entry of judgment. IPXL Holdings, L.L.C. v. Amazon.com, Inc., 430 F.3d 1377, 1384-85 (Fed. Cir. 2005) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(d)(2)(B)). Avalara argues that the default deadline for a fee motion under 35 U.S.C. § 285 fell on October 11, 2019, which is 14 days after the court's entry of summary judgement on PTP's claim for patent infringement. (See MET at 1.) October 10, 2019, Avalara filed a Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 6(b)(1)(A) motion seeking to extend that default deadline to the conclusion of the case. (See generally id.) PTP opposes an extension of the deadline. (MET Resp. (Dkt. # 72).)

         On September 30, 2019, the parties filed letter briefs concerning a discovery dispute. (PTP Ltr. Br. (Dkt. # 56); Def. Ltr. Br.) In addition to its letter brief, Avalara filed two exhibits under seal-both of which PTP had previously marked as confidential. (See Ex. A; Ex. B.) On the same day, Avalara filed a motion seeking permission to file Exhibits A and B under seal. (See MTS.) Because PTP had previously designated the Exhibits as confidential, the protective order in this case required Avalara to file the Exhibits under seal. (See MTS at 1 (citing Protective Order (Dkt. # 49).) However, Avalara stated that it did “not take the position that the [c]ourt should seal them.” (Id.)

         On October 15, 2019, PTP filed a response to Avalara's motion asking the court to grant Avalara's motion to seal Exhibits A and B but offering redacted versions of the Exhibits to file on the court's docket if the court granted Avalara's motion. (See generally MTS Resp. (Dkt. # 70); see also Kurtenback Decl. (Dkt. # 71) ¶¶ 2-3, Exs. 1, 2 (attaching redacted copies of Exhibits A and B).) PTP asserts that portions of the Exhibits contain its confidential trade secrets. (MTS Resp. at 1.) Avalara filed a reply opposing the sealing of the Exhibits. (See generally MTS Reply (Dkt. # 74).) Finally, PTP also filed a surreply in support of the motion to seal. (MTS Surreply (Dkt. # 77).)

         On October 1, 2019, the court held a telephone conference with counsel to resolve the parties' discovery dispute. (See 10/1/19 Min. Entry.) On October 3, 2019, the court reporter filed a transcript of the telephone conference under seal. (See Hr. Tr.) On October 13, 2019, PTP filed a motion to redact certain portions of the transcript prior to unsealing. (See generally MTR.) PTP asserts that portions of the transcript, if unsealed, would reveal its trade secrets. (Id. at 4-5.) Avalara opposes the motion. (MTR Resp. (Dkt. # 84).)

         The court now considers the parties' motions.

         III. ANALYSIS

         A. Motions to Seal and Redact Certain Documents

         Although Avalara filed the motion to seal Exhibits A and B pursuant to the parties' stipulated protective order, it is PTP that seeks to maintain the Exhibits under seal and that offers redacted versions of the Exhibits for filing on the court's docket. (See MTS; MTS Resp.; Kurtenbach Decl. ¶¶ 2-3, Exs. 1, 2).) In addition, PTP seeks to redact three lines from page 15 of the October 1, 2019, hearing transcript. (MTR at 4 (“PTP asks the Court to redact: Page 15, Lines 14-16, from after “sales category is” through before “I read.”).) PTP asserts that the ...


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