In ICG Communications vs Allegiance Telecom, the term „Lawyers` Eyes“ was used on all client files. [39] The Claimant, ICG Communications, was a telecommunications operator involved in a Chapter 11 restructuring. The complainant sent his profitable customers a letter in which he would continue to serve them, but informed his unprofitable customers that he would terminate the services. Allegiance Telecom, a competitor, passed on the communication of unprofitable customers to the complainant`s profitable customers in order to encourage those profitable customers to switch services. The discovery involved different customer lists from both parties. The court found that data protection concerns, including those imposed by the Federal Telecommunications Act, justified a good reason for making a protection order limiting the establishment of client lists to „only the eyes of lawyers“. If, during the main hearing or at a court hearing, it appears necessary for a party to disclose confidential information [or only for the eyes of lawyers], it may do so only after notification by the producing party and on the instructions of the court. [30] Id. at *5-6.

Although Avery Dennison Corp. allowed access to in-house counsel, these lawyers were associates of Avery Dennison and therefore their representatives. The Uniform Trade Secret Act (UTSA) does not require absolute secrecy, except that the material is not easily identifiable to individuals who could obtain economic value from the information. [14] The filing of documents and information in the context of legal proceedings is evidence, but it is not clear whether the information retains trade secret status. [15] For example, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan stated, „If the information sought at the time of discovery is relevant to matters related to the litigation, the discovery is not only denied because the counterparty`s trade secrets are disclosed.“ [16] There are few, if any, applicable ethical rules with respect to circumstances in which information can only be passed on to lawyers and not to clients or can only be passed on to limited representatives of a client. While ethical rules may vary from state to state, most provisions are similar to the 1995 ABA Code of Professional Responsibility. According to the Code of Professional Responsibility, disciplinary rule 1.4 provides that the least protection of trade secrets is the designation of information as „confidential“. Under this name, „confidential“ information may only be used in that particular dispute, but may be shared and verified with the parties and with all the parties` staff, witnesses, experts, legal advisors and any other person involved in the dispute. Such persons should be required to recognise the obligation to keep information confidential.

A breach of this obligation may result in judicial sanctions, including non-compliance with the court. Similarly, in a legal proceeding in Delaware, the defendants sought a protection order to prevent the disclosure to the opposing party of various technical reports, designs, trade secrets and technology secrets. [24] The court gave its protection order to the defendants, but refused to limit disclosure to the „eyes of lawyers.“ [25] The order provided that external counsel and their legal employees, one employee of each party and in-house counsel could have access to the documents submitted for each party. [26] „Only for the eyes of lawyers“ information can only be provided to independent external lawyers….

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