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The Proctor & Gamble Co. v. Ranir, LLC

United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division

August 17, 2017

THE PROCTOR & GAMBLE COMPANY, Plaintiff,
v.
RANIR, LLC, Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING MOTIONS TO SEAL

          Timothy S. Black United States District Judge.

         This civil case is before the Court on several motions to seal that remain pending as the Court prepares to enter an Order granting the motion of Ranir, LLC (“Ranir”) to dismiss for improper venue. Though this case is terminating, the Court enters this Order for the purpose of ensuring compliance with the Sixth Circuit's mandate that court dockets are to remain open to the public except when there are compelling reasons for concealment.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This is a patent-infringement case. On March 20, 2017, The Proctor & Gamble Company (“P&G”) filed the Complaint, which alleges Ranir is infringing patents held by P&G used in tooth whitening strip products. (Doc. 1). P&G also filed a motion for preliminary injunction. (Doc. 8).

         On April 17, 2017, Ranir filed an unopposed motion for leave to file its opposition to P&G's motion (“Opposition”) under seal. (Doc.18). Ranir argued that its Opposition would cite, and attach, exhibits that P&G had labeled as “Confidential” or “Highly Confidential - Attorney Eyes Only” in discovery. (Id.) Ranir requested that it be permitted to file the Opposition under seal in order to maintain the confidentiality of P&G's documents. (Id.)

         On April 18, 2017, the Court entered an Order Conditionally Granting Ranir's request. (Doc. 19). The Court's Order explained that the Sixth Circuit requires a party moving to seal court records to set forth a compelling reason for the seal and demonstrate that the seal is narrowly tailored to that reason. (Id. at 3-4). However, the Court conditionally granted the motion in order to allow Ranir to timely file its Opposition, stating:

Defendant's motion to file under seal (Doc. 18) is CONDITIONALLY GRANTED. Accordingly, Defendant may file its response to Plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction under seal, however, the seal will expire in 30 days from filing unless (1) the parties successfully move to seal the filing (or portions of the filing) under the standards set forth by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals or (2) the parties move to extend the conditional period on the basis that a motion to seal is pending before this Court.

(Doc. 19 at 6).

         On April 18, 2017, Ranir filed its Opposition entirely under seal. (Doc. 21).

         On April 26, 2017, P&G filed a motion to file its reply in support of its motion for preliminary injunction (“Reply”) under seal. (Doc. 24). On April 26, 2017, P&G filed an unredacted version of its Reply under seal (Doc. 25) and a redacted version on the public docket (Doc. 26).

         On April 28, 2017, Ranir filed a motion to strike portions of P&G's Reply, or in the alternative, for leave to file a sur-reply in response to the Reply brief (“Motion for Sur-Reply”) (Doc. 28). Ranir attached a redacted version of its proposed Sur-Reply (Doc. 28-1) and filed a motion to file the complete, unredacted version of its proposed Sur-Reply under seal (Doc. 27).

         On May 5, 2017, Ranir filed an opposition to P&G's motion to file the Reply brief under seal. (Doc. 31). Curiously, Ranir also requested that the Court lift the seal on Ranir's own Opposition, and deny Ranir's own motion for leave to file its proposed Sur-Reply under seal, on the grounds that the P&G documents Ranir cited, and attached, in those briefs are not entitled to be sealed. (Id. at 10-13).

         On May 12, 2017, P&G filed a reply in support of its motion to seal its Reply brief and an opposition to Ranir's request to unseal its own Opposition and proposed Sur-Reply. (Doc. 33). P&G argues that Ranir's Opposition, P&G's Reply, and Ranir's proposed Sur-Reply all contain P&G's trade secrets and other confidential information which would harm P&G if made public. (Id.) P&G submitted a disk to Chambers which highlights the confidential information in each of these three briefs that P&G argues should be sealed and redacted on the public docket. (Id. at 4).

         On August 17, 2017, the Court entered an Order granting Ranir's motion to dismiss for lack of venue and denying, as moot, P&G's motion for preliminary injunction (Doc. 8) and the Motion for Sur-Reply (Doc. 28). (Doc. 36). Because the Court did not rule on the merits of P&G's motion for preliminary injunction, whether or not the briefs are sealed are of little consequence for purposes of this litigation. In any event, the Court puts on this Order to ensure that its docket remains ...


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