United States District Court, D. Delaware
MONOLITHIC POWER SYSTEMS, INC. Plaintiff,
INTERSIL CORPORATION, Defendant.
HONORABLE LEONARD P. STARK, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Special Master Yvonne Takvorian Saville issued an order
during a hearing ("Order") (D.I. 255-1 Ex. 10),
dated October 31, 2018, granting Monolithic Power Systems
Inc.'s ("MPS") motion to compel the deposition
of Defendant Intersil Corporation's
("Intersil") employee Paul Sferrazza and denying
Intersil's motion to compel production of documents;
on November 21, 2018, Intersil objected to portions of the
Order (D.I. 248 at 2-3) ("[T]his Court should not adopt
the Special Master's decisions (1) compelling the
deposition of Paul Sferrazza, (2) compelling additional fact
discovery with respect to Paul Sferrazza, and (3) denying
MPS's motion to compel complete responses to its document
on December 3, 2018, MPS responded to Intersil's
Objections (D.I. 255) ("Response");
the Court has considered Intersil's Objections and
MPS's Response for abuse of discretion, see Fed.
R. Civ. P. 53(f)(5); Callwave Communs. LLC v. AT&T
Mobility LLC, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 78278, at *6 (D.
Del. June 16, 2016); Fair child Semiconductor
Corp. v. Power Integrations, Inc., 2015 U.S. Dist.
LEXIS 53835, at *5 (D. Del. Apr. 24, 2015), as they relate to
THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:
Intersil's Objections (D.I. 248) are OVERRULED and
Special Master Saville's Order (D.I. 255-1 Ex. 10) is
the October 31, 2018 telephonic hearing, the Special Master
granted MPS's motion to depose Paul Sferrazza,
Intersil's Vice President and General Manager of
Engineering, and denied Intersil's "motion seeking
to compel MPS to provide documents concerning MPS's
removal of MPS data sheets from the internet." (D.I. 248
at 2; see also D.I. 255 at 2) The Court finds no
abuse of discretion in either ruling.
deposition of Paul Sferrazza is relevant because (allegedly)
"Mr. Sferrazza's design team was both responsible
for designing Intersil's digital Vcore solution for
mobile products, as well as incorporating MPS's Vcore
technology into such products." (D.I. 255 at 3-4)
(citing Ex. 7 at 103-04) Intersil contends that MPS is only
seeking to depose Mr. Sferrazza on Intersil's alleged
reverse engineering of MPS's product (see D.I.
248 at 3-5), MPS's claim extends beyond reverse
engineering to misappropriation, as MPS explains
(see D.I. 255 at 4-5) (citing D.I. 36 ¶¶
40-46), and the requested deposition appears to go beyond
reverse engineering. Nor is the requested discovery untimely.
MPS only became aware of Mr. Sferrazza's potential use of
MPS trade secrets at the September 26, 2018 deposition of Jia
Wei (a 30(b)(6) witness who said he did not have the
requested information and identified Mr. Sferrazza as someone
who might) and, thereafter, timely noticed Mr. Sferrazza for
deposition. (D.I. 255 at 2, 6) It was not an abuse of
discretion to allow Mr. Sferrazza to be MPS's
11th deponent and 10th document
custodian or to allow MPS to extend the date range of
relevance to all periods in which the allegedly
misappropriated materials may have been used.
Special Master acted within her discretion in denying
Intersil's motion to compel MPS to produce "all
documents related to any MPS datasheets." (D.I. 255 at
8) (internal brackets and quotation marks omitted) The Court
agrees with the Special Master that Intersil's request
relates to "hundreds of products," which the
Special Master was free to find to be unduly burdensome and
disproportionate to the needs of the case, even if one
accepts Intersil's argument that how MPS maintains (all
of) its data sheets is potentially probative of whether they
are truly trade secrets. As Intersil points out, it will have
a 30(b)(6) deposition of MPS regarding its removal from the
internet of supposedly "confidential" data sheets
(see D.I. 248 at 9), which will allow Intersil to
pursue this contention. Still, it was not an abuse of
discretion to limit the scope of discovery into data sheets,
particularly given that MPS claims to protect them (at times)
as trade secrets. (See D.I. 255 at 8-9)
Order is being issued under seal, the parties shall meet and
confer and, no later than Wednesday, February 13,
2019, submit a proposed redacted version.
Thereafter, the Court will issue a public version of its
 The Court also discerns no error of
law or fact in the Special ...