Court Orders Defendant to Produce Source Code in Native Format
In CQuest America, Inc. v. Yahasoft, Inc., Case No. 13-3349 (July 30, 2015), the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois recently considered whether to order a defendant to produce source code in native format.
Plaintiff received a contract to perform services for the Illinois Department of Human Services. Related to that contract, Plaintiff entered into an agreement with Defendant to develop software. Plaintiff later sued Defendant for breach of the agreement and filed an emergency motion to compel production of certain documents and things, including the source code for the software Defendant developed for the project and the associated database schema.
The court granted the motion to compel in part and ordered Defendant to produce the requested items. After entry of a protective order, Defendant produced documents to Plaintiff but instead of producing the source code in native format as requested, Defendant produced a PDF containing a log of code sections that had been changed by Defendant’s developers.
The court found that by only producing a PDF of partial source code, Defendant had failed to comply with the court’s order, although the court concluded that Defendant had not willfully failed to comply but rather had incorrectly interpreted Plaintiff’s document request. Accordingly, the court did not award sanctions, but ordered that Defendant produce the entire source code in native format.