Monday, June 25, 2007, 6/25/2007 07:37:00 AM

Newspaper Advertisers are not Trade Secrets

From the LA Times, a story concerning a brutal battle between two LA area weekly newspapers, the established Beverly Hills Courier and the upstart Westside Chronicle.

According to the Times, in March 2006, just days after the Chronicle published its first issue, the Courier filed a lawsuit "accusing the Chronicle's publisher, Vipin Sahgal, and several people on his staff — most of them former Courier employees — of stealing 'trade secrets' and asked the courts to block the paper from contacting its advertisers."

After six days of court testimony, the court denied the motion for preliminary injunction.

The Times quoted lawyer Fred Fenster, formerly counsel to publisher Sahgal, who trenchantly observed that "[t]he information that you are trying to protect must be something that is unavailable to competitors," adding that names of newspaper advertisers cannot be considered trade secrets because they are in the paper.

Fair enough. It's always a bit odd watching the media trying to -- at least on some level -- restrict speech.

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