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Gentian v. Tristar Products, Inc.

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

January 18, 2019

BLUE GENTIAN, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
TRISTAR PRODUCTS, INC., et al., Defendants.

          DAVID S. STONE BRADFORD W. MULLER STONE & MAGNANINI LLP Attorneys for Plaintiff Telebrands Corp.

          EDWARD PAUL BAKOS NOAM JOSEPH KRITZER BAKOS & KRITZER J. STEVEN BRAUGHMAN (PRO HAC VICE) PAUL, WEISS, RIFKIND, WHARTON & GARRISON, LLP Attorneys for Defendant Tristar Products, Inc.

          OPINION FILED UNDER SEAL

          NOEL L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.

         Presently before the Court is Defendant Tristar Product Inc.'s (“Tristar”) Motion to Quash the Subpoena of Tristar CEO Keith Mirchandani (“Motion to Quash”), Plaintiff Telebrands Corp.'s (“Telebrands”) Motion for Targeted Supplemental Discovery to Defendant Tristar Products, Inc. (“Supplemental Discovery Motion”), and Plaintiff Telebrands' August 31, 2018 Motion to Seal. For the reasons stated herein, this Court will deny Defendant Tristar's Motion to Quash, grant Plaintiff Telebrands' Supplemental Discovery Motion, and grant Plaintiff Telebrands' Motion to Seal.

         BACKGROUND

         This case has a lengthy and complicated factual and procedural history. In lieu of recounting those details, which have been penned by this Court numerous times over the years of this litigation, this Court will focus on only the details relevant to the consideration of the motions disposed of in this Opinion.

         On September 5-7, 2018, this Court commenced a hearing on correction of inventorship (“Inventorship Hearing”). At the Inventorship Hearing, testimony from three Telebrands employees (Ajit Khubani, Chief Executive Officer, Bala Iyer, Chief Operating Officer, and Manish Israni, Vice President of New Product Acquisition and Research) was elicited by Tristar. Generally, the testimony concerned whether Telebrands received a prototype or propriety information from Ragner Technology Corp. (“Ragner Tech.”) and whether, if received, the prototype or proprietary information led to the development of the Pocket Hose.

         During the hearing, counsel for Telebrands, disclosed his intent to call the Chief Executive Officer of Tristar, Keith Mirchandani, and served a subpoena upon counsel for Tristar (which was accepted). It was later disclosed (in more detail), through the instant briefing, that Telebrands proposed that Mirchandani would testify to the development of the Flex-Able Hose and whether that involved the use of any Ragner Tech. prototypes or proprietary information. The Court indicated, but did not finally decide, that it would permit this testimony.

         After about a month had passed since the Inventorship Hearing was adjourned (to resume at the end of January 2019), Telebrands filed the Supplemental Discovery Motion. The Supplemental Discovery Motion requested Tristar to respond to a limited set of interrogatories and document requests to allow Telebrands to prepare for Mirchandani's planned Inventorship Hearing testimony.[1] Tristar opposed discovery, asserting in its opposition papers that it did not believe Mirchandani's testimony was relevant to the issues pending at the Inventorship Hearing and that the discovery request was untimely.

         Approximately a month later, in mid-December, Tristar filed the Motion to Quash, now explicitly arguing Mirchandani's proposed testimony was irrelevant and should not be required.[2]Telebrands opposed the Motion to Quash, maintaining Mirchandani's proposed testimony was relevant. Telebrands a motion to seal on August 31, 2018.[3] As all the motions discussed have been fully briefed, they are ripe for adjudication.

         ANALYSIS

         A. Subject Matter Jurisdiction

         This Court has subject matter jurisdiction over this matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1338 (a).

         B. Motion to ...


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