United States District Court, D. New Hampshire
Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc.
Armscor Precision International, Inc. et al. Opinion No. 2016 DNH 141
K. JOHNSTONE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Ruger & Co., Inc. (“Ruger”) brought suit
against Armscor Precision International, Inc.
(“API”), Rock Island Armory Exports, Inc.
(“RIA”) (collectively “domestic
defendants”), and Arms Corporation of the Philippines
(“ACP” or “Filipino defendant”)
asserting claims arising out of the defendants’ alleged
copying of a rifle manufactured by Ruger. Ruger moves to
compel the defendants to respond to certain discovery
requests. Doc. no. 42. The defendants object. Doc. no. 45.
For the reasons that follow, the court grants Ruger’s
motion in part and denies in part.
may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter that
is relevant to any party's claim or defense and
proportional to the needs of the case . . . .”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). “Information within this scope
of discovery need not be admissible in evidence to be
discoverable.” Id. If a party fails to respond
to requests for production or interrogatories, the party
seeking discovery may move to compel production of the
requested documents or answers to the interrogatories.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(3)(B)(iii), (iv).
party seeking an order compelling discovery responses over an
opponent's objection bears the initial burden of showing
that the discovery requested is relevant. Caouette v.
OfficeMax, Inc., 352 F.Supp.2d 134, 136 (D.N.H. 2005).
“This burden, however, should not be overstated. As the
court of appeals has instructed, ‘district courts are
to interpret liberally the discovery provisions of the
Federal Rules [of] Civil Procedure to encourage the free flow
of information among litigants.’” West v.
Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc., No. 10-cv-214-JL, 2011 WL
6371791, at *2 (D.N.H. Dec. 20, 2011) (quoting Heidelberg
Ams., Inc. v. Tokyo Kikai Seisakusho, Ltd., 333 F.3d 38,
41 (1st Cir. 2003)).
is a manufacturer of firearms, which is incorporated in
Delaware and has its main corporate office located in
Connecticut. Am. Compl. ¶ 2. Ruger has a facility in
Newport, New Hampshire, where it manufactures its signature
rifle, the “10/22® carbine autoloading rifle (the
‘10/22’)”. Id. ¶¶ 2, 12.
Ruger has sold and marketed its 10/22 rifle around the world.
Id. ¶¶ 12, 29.
domestic defendants API and RIA are both located in Nevada.
Id. ¶ 3-4. The Filipino defendant is a foreign
corporation with its main office in the Philippines.
Id. ¶ 5. In this case, Ruger alleges that the
defendants have designed and manufactured a .22 caliber
semi-automatic rifle (the “RIA 22”) that
impermissibly copies the 10/22. Id. ¶¶
37-262. Ruger claims that the defendants have sold and
marketed the RIA 22 around the world. Id.
on the defendants’ alleged conduct, Ruger brought this
suit asserting claims for trade dress infringement, 15 U.S.C.
§ 1125(a), trade dress dilution, § 1125(c),
contributory trade dress infringement § 1125(a), and
violation of the New Hampshire Consumer Protection Act, RSA
358-A. Id. ¶¶ 346-70. Ruger alleges this
court has jurisdiction over the case because the
defendants’ actions violate the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C.
§ 1125. Id. ¶¶ 9, 348, 353, 367.
early 2016, Ruger served the defendants with interrogatories
and requests for the production of documents concerning,
among other things, information regarding the sales,
marketing, and advertising of the RIA 22. See
Pl.’s Exs. A, D, E, F, G, H. The defendants objected to
Ruger’s requests, in part, contending that the
requested information is irrelevant and improperly seeks
discovery of sales, marketing, and advertising information
occurring outside the United States. Id. The
defendants stated in their discovery responses that they
would only produce discovery “concerning marketing or
advertising [or sales] in the United States that
[is] not otherwise privileged or protected . . . .”
Pl.’s Ex. A at 3-4; Ex. D at 3-4; Ex. E at 3-4
parties soon after met and conferred to address Ruger’s
discovery requests and the defendants’ responses. The
parties were unable to reach an agreement, and Ruger filed
its motion to compel.
Discovery of the Defendants’ Foreign Sales and
contends the disputed discovery requests are “directly
relevant to the claims and allegations raised in its
complaint.” Doc. no. 42 at 8. Specifically, Ruger
alleges that the defendants sell and market the RIA 22 around
the world; therefore, discovery concerning the
defendants’ sales and marketing of the RIA 22 is
relevant to determining damages and establishing
subject-matter jurisdiction under the Lanham Act. In
response, the defendants argue that “information
relat[ed] to [their] activities ...