Risk Update

Sample in a Jar — In Whiskey Conflict, Ethical Screen/Information Barrier Prevents Watering Down

This title caught my eye, as we noted it last year, and I enjoy the subject matter — both questions of ethical walls and information barriers, and the particular subject of the suit. (Friends, all donations of the water of life presently welcome during these sheltering times, and will be put to good use powering the blog.)

Whiskey Glass Maker Can’t Ax Rival’s Law Firm” — 

  • “In a ruling penned for the panel, Court of Appeal Judge Julian Flaux found that a lower court judge didn’t err in refusing to grant the injunction sought by Glencairn IP Holdings Ltd., which would have blocked solicitors at Virtuoso Legal from continuing to act for rival manufacturer Product Specialties Inc.”
  • “‘In my judgment, the judge’s evaluation of the evidence is not open to criticism and he carried out the balancing exercise correctly,’ Judge Flaux said. ‘His conclusion that the balance of justice was against the grant of an injunction was unimpeachable.'”
  • “Glencairn, which owns a European trademark and a registered design for its distinctive glassware, unsuccessfully argued that the court should intervene since the solicitor for the opposing party had previously acted for another company that Glencairn sued for infringement — and thus had access to privileged, confidential information about a settlement reached in the earlier case.”
  • “Thursday’s judgment notes that Virtuoso’s principal, Elizabeth Ward, testified that the Product Specialities team didn’t have knowledge or access to the confidential information connected to the other matter and its settlement. The burden of proof to show that the law firm’s ‘information barrier’ failed was on Glencairn, which hadn’t made its case, Judge Flaux said.”
  • “Additionally, Judge Flaux said, if information is misused or openly disclosed or there is some threat that it will be, the sufficient remedy is to restrain the opponent and his legal advisers from misusing the information — not to block the law firm from acting.”