I have to say that your comment site and procedure are utterly baffling. I have no idea whether I am actually commenting on what I want to comment on.
I think that the Standard Protective Order concept is a good one. However, I have several issues based on my experience as both in-house and as outside counsel.
If a party to a Board proceeding wants to be represented by in-house counsel that is fine with me. But I am troubled by producing competitively-sensitive documents to in-house counsel. The reason is that most in-house counsel also play a business role, and if I produce sensitive sales, financial and other data they cannot erase that knowledge from their memory. Also, there is no requirement that in-house counsel treat such information under "lock and key" so that business people cannot get access to it. When I was in-house I kept all such information in a locked file cabinet and only I had the key.
Second, here in California it is illegal to provide personal information about employees to third parties even with a protective order. While that should not be an issue in trademark cases, in my experience some folks have demanded personnel files (and I have refused.) I think it would be unwise for the Board to sanction the disclosure of such information even under the standard protective order.
I guess a final comment reflects one of my pet peeves about Board proceedings. Absent sanctions authority, the protective order is merely words on paper. I understand the Board's view that its sanctions authority is circumscribed by Congress, but the absence of meaningful "teeth" requires litigants to make a gigantic "leap of faith" that their adversary will play by the rules because there are not really any adverse consequences to doing otherwise.
Law Office of Paul W. Reidl
241 Eagle Trace Drive
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
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