Protective Order

An order, common in U.S. commercial litigation and international arbitration, especially in intellectual property and trade cases, which provides that certain commercially sensitive and confidential information produced in discovery be kept confidential and usually only provided to parties’ counsel rather than to parties themselves. Usually when there is a protective order, public and non-public versions of pleadings and other records of court proceedings are produced—with the confidential information redacted (deleted) from the public versions.

Pleadings filed under a protective order are commonly described as filed under seal.