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Iowa Supreme Court Issues New Rules on Confidential Information

The Iowa Supreme Court has promulgated new Rule 1.422(1)(a)(2) of the Iowa Rules of Civil Procedure designed to ensure that lawyers redacted or eliminate private information from court documents. The Clerk of Court, however, still does not review filings to ensure pleadings do not contain private information.

The new rule relates to:

1. Social security numbers.
2. Financial account numbers.
3. Personal identification numbers.
4. Other unique identifiers.

The rule states that is social security or financial account information is required only incomplete numbers should be included. No redaction is necessary for items deemed confidential by the Iowa Supreme Court, until such point as the information may be made public.

The new rule, effective November 1, 2006, allows a party the option of redacting the following information:

a. Driver’s license numbers.
b. Medical information.
c. Employment history.
d. Personal financial information.
e. Proprietary or trade secret information.
f. Information concerning a person’s cooperation with the government.
g. Information concerning crime victims.
h. Sensitive security information.
i. Home addresses.
j. Date of birth.
k. Names of minor children.

This law is especially important to intellectual property lawyers and their clients. Clients can lose rights to patents and trade secrets if an unwary lawyer makes them publicly available by including them in a publicly filed court paper. A nice reminder for patent lawyers and their clients.

Brett Trout

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