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IP: Avoiding the hidden dangers of the never-ending email string

Proper email practices can limit the cost and scope of discovery, and prevent the production of sensitive communications

Many companies expend significant time, money and effort to develop, capture and protect patents, trade secrets and copyrights. The failure to instruct researchers, designers, creators and inventors on basic email practices can undermine those efforts when email communications are produced during litigation. Specifically, a number of issues can arise when long email strings covering wide-ranging topics include reference to responsive matters. As frequent email users, most of us understand how a single email communication turns into an endless conversation discussing multiple issues when we automatically reply to the email sitting in our inbox regardless of its subject matter. To limit the cost and scope of discovery in civil litigation to relevant matters, employees should be encouraged to reconsider that impulse and to limit each email to one specific subject matter.

Additional expense in e-discovery

Contributing Author

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Julianne Hartzell

Julianne M. Hartzell is a litigation partner at Marshall, Gerstein & Borun LLP. She has litigated patent, trademark, copyright, and trade secret matters in...

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