Lost in the discussion of spoliation in Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. is the question of why email from August 2010 would be relevant to a patent dispute involving design decisions and activities many months before, according to BakerHostetler Partner Gil Keteltas.

“Email is not typically the place where the most relevant trade secrets are likely to reside in a case like this—and where relevant email exists, it is likely closer to the time of infringing events rather than within a few weeks of the legal hold trigger,” Keteltas says.

Keteltas cites the Federal Circuit’s model patent e-discovery order: “Most discovery in patent litigation centers on what the patent states, how the accused products work, what the prior art discloses and the proper calculation of damages. … Far reaching e-discovery, such as mass email searches, is often tangential to adjudicating these issues.”