Discovery of Source Code in Patent Litigation

Discovery of computer source code–either through production, inspection, or deposition–is one of the more contentious aspects of patent litigation. Indeed, “few tasks excite a defendant less . . . . Engineers and management howl at the notion of providing strangers, and especially a fierce competitor, access to the crown jewels. Counsel struggle to understand even exactly what code exists and exactly how it can be made available for reasonable inspection. All sorts of questions are immediately posed. . . . Put simply, source code production is disruptive, expensive, and fraught with monumental opportunities to screw up.” Apple Inc. v. Samsung Elecs. Co., No. 11-1846, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62971, *10-11 (N.D. Cal. May 4, 2012) (ECF No. 898).