We told you in May that Public Citizen was representing Prof. Rebecca Tushnet of Georgetown Law in seeking to intervene and unseal court documents in a trademark dispute between Amazon.com and the maker of a dietary supplement called SeroVital. The district court denied summary judgment to Amazon this past spring, but key facts on which the court relied — and therefore the heart of its reasoning — were redacted from the opinion (as well as from the summary judgment papers that the parties filed). As a result, the public and scholars like Prof. Tushnet who study IP remained in the dark about where the threshold for a valid claim lies and why the district court ruled as it did.
SanMedica opposed Prof. Tushnet's intervention (though Amazon, admirably, did not, and early on indicated a willingness to work with us). The district court granted intervention in November.
Subsequently, the parties reached an agreement to unseal almost all of the material Prof. Tushnet sought, paving the way for the lifting of most redactions in the opinion so that the public can finally understand what this case means for trademark law.
Today, the district court granted the joint motion to provide for the unsealing of the case, through a process that should culminate in late January.
This result is a welcome one in an era in which too many courts are sealing too much information too easily, thereby restricting the public's First Amendment right of access to judicial records.
Read more about the case here.