EMAIL EDITION - VOLUME I, NUMBER 107 - July 14, 2009
Click [UNSUBSCRIBE] to unsubscribe to this free email edition.
THIS ISSUE SPONSORED BY:
IBG Lawyers Threaten Wine Industry Insight Over Leaked Brochure
A law firm representing Inertia Beverage Group (IBG) sent a threatening letter on July 14 to Wine Industry Insight demanding that it remove IBG’s Series C offering brochure from an article published on its web site on July 8 (IBG Looking For $24 to $29 Million, “Do Or Die” To Acquire New Vine Assets)
The law firm, Cooley Godward Kronish of San Francisco contended in its July 14 letter that IBG’s widely circulated Series C offering brochure contained “trade secrets.”
In response to IBG’s threatening letter, WII Editor and Publisher sent the following reply.
I am receipt of your email and threatening attachment.
As you realize, circulars such as the Series C brochure are routinely sent to many, many people in hopes of finding investment. As such, the large numbers of people receiving these violates the inherent concept of confidentiality.
LAW FIRMS USUALLY VET OFFERING BROCHURES BEFORE PUBLISHING
As a general practice, such documents — intended for wide distribution — are carefully vetted by law firms to make sure they do not contain trade secrets.
“CONFIDENTIAL” ROUTINELY ABUSED
In addition, as you are undoubtedly well aware, the standards for “confidentiality” are routinely abused. The Cheney vice-presidency has certainly offered us many examples.
As evidence, we could consider your own email to us which includes a confidentiality demand that attempts to prohibit me from sending my own personal email to whomever I choose.
” This email message is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited.”
Just because you choose to stamp even your most routine emails as “confidential” does not mean they are. Courts have repeatedly ruled that such statements are invalid.
SERIES C BROCHURE SO WIDELY DISTRIBUTED AS TO MEET STANDARDS FOR “PUBLICATION”
Further, the Series C brochure was faxed and re-faxed so many times before I received it, that it is impossible to ascertain how many other people have seen it. I don’t even know who sent it to me.
If we use the Supreme Court’s standard for “publication,” this Series C brochure document was certainly published long before I received a copy. I presume that prudence should dictate that “trade secrets” should not be published whether they have “confidential” stamped on them or not.
In any event, rulings from both the Supreme Court and the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals have set very tall bars against prior restraint of the First Amendment. Given the previously widespread publication of the data in the Series C brochure, this may be difficult.
BROCHURE CONTAINS NO ACTUAL TRADE SECRETS
In addition, the present instance differs in many significant legal aspects from the cases and trade secrets statutes you cite, not the least of which is the absence of a provable trade secret.
The release of the Series C brochure may be an embarrassment, but it contains only financials that already become common knowledge and a description of the business which repeats information either published on IBG’s and New Vine’s web sites or which have also become common knowledge.
And finally, yes, I was in possession of other documents. They may or may not have contained confidential material. Regardless, I destroyed those.
IBG/NEW VINE COLLAPSE IS A MATTER OF WIDESPREAD PUBLIC INTEREST IN WINE INDUSTRY
The issue of New Vine’s collapse, IBG’s subsequent actions and what the future holds for both companies’ clients and the wine industry as a whole is a matter of great public interest that affects the most critical business decisions of the industry, particularly here in California.
IBG has refused to conduct its activities in an open and transparent manner, much to the dismay of its clients and New Vines as well as other wineries trying to make critical business decisions.
As a valuable public service to our readers and the broader vintner community, Wine Industry Insight has endeavored to provide a full, transparent and responsive account of that controversy. Your attempt on behalf of IBG to short-circuit this contravenes the wider public interest.
I too, take this matter very, very seriously and am prepared to take all actions necessary to defend my rights.
THIS ISSUE SPONSORED BY:
================= CONTACT DATA ====================
670 W. Napa St., Suite H, Sonoma, CA 95476
Phone: 707-326-4503, fax: 707-940-4146