Based on the claims first alleged in the complaint, including a claim for misappropriation of business ideas, this court ordered plaintiff TechCrunch to identify its business ideas pursuant to California Civil Code Section 2019.210 as a case management tool only. On April 23, 2010, plaintiff TechCrunch served its Statement of Business Ideas and defendant Fusion Garage later renewed its motion for protective order on the grounds that the ideas set forth therein did not provide fair notice regarding the scope of discovery. It stated that “[t]hey have identified nothing other than public information, broad generalities, and items that could not possibly be property that Fusion Garage misappropriated.” Renewed Mot. at 2.
In the August 24, 2010 Order, the district court dismissed the claim for misappropriation of business ideas without leave to amend. August 24, 2010 Order at 12–14. On September 13, 2010, plaintiff TechCrunch filed an amended complaint alleging claims for breach of fiduciary duty, fraud and deceit, and unfair competition. Amended Complaint filed on September 13, 2010. (“Amended Complaint”). (Docket No. 167). Pursuant to the August 24, 2010 Order, plaintiff TechCrunch no longer alleged a claim for misappropriation of business ideas. Id.
Based on the above, defendant Fusion Garage's renewed motion challenging the sufficiency of the Statement of Business Ideas is now largely moot.
Notwithstanding the above, defendant Fusion Garage continues to dispute the relevance of its “source code, confidential technical documents about Fusion Garage's product, the joo joo, or other documents seeking Fusion Garage's trade secrets and proprietary information” pursuant to Rule 26(c). Renewed Mot. at 4, 14. See, e.g.,
Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel Production of Withheld Information and Documents at 2. (“We made clear in our motion practice and during the substantial hearing on this motion that the business ideas claim was not the only claim Magistrate Judge Trumbull's Order applies to.”). Plaintiff TechCrunch asserts that the discovery sought is relevant to its other claims for breach of fiduciary duty, and fraud and deceit.
*3 Under Rule 26, a court must limit the frequency or extent of discovery if it determines any of the following:
(i) the discovery sought is unreasonably cumulative or duplicative, or can be obtained from some other source that is more convenient, less burdensome, or less expensive;
(ii) the party seeking discovery has had ample opportunity to obtain the information by discovery in the action; or
(iii) the burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit, considering the needs of the case, the amount in controversy, the parties' resources, the importance of the issues at stake in the action, and the importance of the discovery in resolving the issues.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(2)(i), (ii) and (iii).
During the June 22, 2010 hearing, defendant Fusion Garage specifically objected to producing the source code for the joojoo product. It argued that plaintiff TechCrunch had no involvement whatsoever in its programming and development. Plaintiff TechCrunch does not appear to dispute that Fusion Garage was largely responsible for the actual source code itself but counters that “[s]ource code is also likely to have embedded comments that bear not only on the technical nature of the code, but also on the circumstances of its creation, including any venture or dealings with Plaintiffs.” Opp. at 9. Here, the court finds that plaintiff TechCrunch has shown that the metadata (i.e., programmer's notes or comments, and other annotations within the source code) in the source code may be relevant to its claims. For example, “between September 2008 and November of 2009, the parties collaborated in an attempt to bring to market a tablet computer, which they intended to call the “CrunchPad.” August 24, 2010 Order at 1. The metadata and dates of creation and/or modification in the source code may show the nature and extent of the parties' collaboration. Therefore, defendant Fusion Garage shall produce the metadata to the source code for the joojoo product, including the dates showing when the code was created and/or modified. It may redact the actual source code from the production of metadata and dates of creation and/or modification to plaintiff TechCrunch.
Subject to the above limitation, defendant Fusion Garage shall produce documents responsive to document request nos. 4, 5, 13, 15, 18, 20, 24, 33, 38, 43, 46, 49, 53, 76 and shall provide further responses to interrogatory nos. 1 and 2. Additionally, defendant Fusion Garage shall produce documents responsive to document request nos. 12, 14, 17, 19, 23, 32, 37, 40, 44, 45, 54, 55, 56, 57, 59, 60, 61, 67, 78, 79, 80, and 81. Having reviewed the document requests and interrogatories identified above, the court finds that the discovery sought is relevant to plaintiff TechCrunch's remaining claims of breach of fiduciary duty, fraud and deceit, and unfair competition. For example, the discovery sought is relevant to “the conduct [the parties] undertook in jointly developing the tablet computer.” August 24, 2010 Order at 9. Defendant Fusion Garage may produce the discovery subject to the Stipulated Protective Order filed on March 11, 2010. (“Stipulated Protective Order”). (Docket No. 35).