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LAW—Trade Secret Battles Are More Like Marathons



Attorney Sets Seminar on Legal Issues Surrounding Choice of Business Name

Here’s a bad idea: Publish your trade secrets on the Internet. Or show them off at trade shows. Or throw a hard copy in the trash without shredding it first.

Those ways and more can help you lose a trade secret battle in court, according to San Diego attorney Randy Kay, writing in the summer 2000 issue of the Intellectual Property Update put out by Palo Alto-based Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich LLP. The piece is available at (www.graycary.com/arttoc/ipu/index.html). Kay uses the metaphor of distance running in his article on keeping trade secrets, saying holders of those secrets should be ready for a marathon. Unlike patents and copyrights, trade secrets run on and on. Your job as the holder of a trade secret is to take care that the secret is not spread , and it may be up to you to convince a court you’ve been careful.

Listed with ideas that may not sit well with a court (like sending your trade secrets out in a press release) are more than two dozen actions that may convince the court you are safeguarding secrets, like requiring employees to sign confidentiality agreements, and obtaining orders sealing the records of court proceedings related to the trade secrets.

San Diego-based Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps LLP is also circulating articles on trade secrets. By punching up “newsletters” at (www.luce.com/refs), a person can find the firm’s July 2000 labor and employment law update. That details how some employers may find California’s hazardous materials disclosure requirements coming in conflict with their efforts to keep trade secrets.

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Luce’s July/August 2000 technology law update, meanwhile, discusses guarding against the “inevitable disclosure” of trade secrets by former employees going off to work with competitors.

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Choosing A Name: Patent attorney Karl M. Steins will present a free seminar on “Naming Your Business: Important Legal Issues Surrounding the Choice of a Business Name” at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 9, in the third-floor auditorium of the central library, 820 E St., Downtown.

Trial Lawyer Leadership: David S. Casey Jr. was elected secretary of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America during the association’s convention, which concluded early this month. He previously served as treasurer and parliamentarian of the group. The association has more than 56,000 attorney members representing consumers across the United States, Canada and abroad. Casey is a senior partner in the Banker’s Hill firm of Casey, Gerry, Reed & Schenk; the firm is part of a multiple-firm alliance, Herman, Middleton, Casey & Kitchens.

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Letterhead Change: Vantage Law Group has added Shana Sechrist to its team of attorneys. She was previously an associate at Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek.

Items for this column may be sent via E-mail to bgraves@sdbj.com.

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