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RAMBLING MAN BURTON HAS NO THOUGHTS OF LAWYERING Outgoing Senate President Pro Tem John Burton has no plans to go back to lawyering after he leaves office in December. Burton received his law degree from the University of San Francisco and returned to the legal arena after leaving Congress in 1982 to deal with a drug addiction, practicing law in San Francisco between 1983 and 1988. He is still an active member of the State Bar. Nevertheless, the 71-year-old Burton told reporters at an Tuesday press conference entitled, “The state of the world as I see it,” that he had no plans to go back to practicing law, and in fact, has no plans to do anything except set up a “foundation to deal with kids without homes,” along the order of Mustard Seed, a private Sacramento school for homeless children. “My whole life has been serendipitous,” added Burton, who has spent half of his life in elected office. “The only thing in my whole life that was planned for me � was the first time I ran for the Assembly, which was the brainchild of my brother Phillip.” Burton, who is termed out and will be succeeded as Senate leader by Democrat Don Perata of Oakland, regaled media types for about an hour with free-ranging comments, touching on everything from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s prime-time GOP convention address to Proposition 72, a referendum on Burton’s 2003 Health Insurance Act, mandating health insurance for employees not currently covered. Burton predicted that Democratic members of the Senate who face re-election this year will be largely unaffected by any pull Schwarzenegger may have at the polls. He also described the governor as “more to the middle” of virtually every Republican in the Senate, with the exception of Santa Cruz lawmaker Bruce McPherson. He saved his parting shots for those legislators who preferred to haggle over authorship of bills at the expense of delivering the goods to constituents. “I never got into this thing to get plaques or ribbons,” said Burton. “By and large, most of the people I’ve helped don’t know who I am.” — Jill Duman SHARK LOGO IS SNAKE-BITTEN Sharks never sleep. At least that’s what many scientists believe. So it’s fitting that Osotspa Co. Ltd. dubbed its energy drink “Shark” and chose the mammal as its logo. But the company contends there’s no room for another shark in the ocean of beverages. When it discovered that Impulse Beverage Co. was selling energy drinks with a shark label, Osotspa filed a trademark infringement suit. “The question is: In this market can you have two companies using the same animal as a logo?” said P. Craig Cardon, a partner at Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton who is representing Osotspa. A federal court in Florida concluded the two sharks couldn’t co-exist. Finding that Impulse’s packaging was confusingly similar to Osotspa’s, U.S. District Judge Alan Gold issued a preliminary injunction requiring Impulse to drop the shark image. Last month, the court denied Impulse’s motion to stay the injunction pending appeal. Cardon said the case also raised the issue of whether a different name across a logo could sufficiently distinguish two products. Osotspa’s trademark consists of the name “shark” imposed over an image of a white or silver shark, while Impulse’s drink has “Impulse” imprinted over a shark graphic. Impulse’s attorney, Alexander Angueira, a partner in the Miami office of Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson, could not be reached for comment. Osotspa, the largest pharmaceutical company in Thailand, distributes its energy drinks in the United States through its Torrance-based subsidiary, Shark USA. The caffeine-rich drinks have been sold in Thailand for more than a century. Cardon said Osotspa was the original manufacturer of the Asian tonic, and Red Bull took the lead in introducing energy beverages in Europe and the United States. Miami-based Impulse began selling its product in 2001. – Brenda Sandburg IF I’VE SAID IT ONCE � He said it, and he meant it. Ed Rosenthal freely admits he’s used the word “snitch” over and over to describe a man who testified against him in federal court. But the medical marijuana guru argues he’s done nothing to merit the defamation suit that the man, Robert Martin, filed against him in July. Though the term may be “unsavory,” Rosenthal argues in a response filed last month in San Francisco Superior Court, “the messenger should not be punished for revealing the truth.” When Rosenthal was accused of growing pot supplied to a San Francisco medical marijuana dispensary, federal prosecutors subpoenaed Martin, another member of the local medical marijuana community. He testified under immunity about checks he had written on behalf of the dispensary. Rosenthal was convicted and sentenced to one day. Martin, who maintains he was compelled to testify, alleges in his suit that Rosenthal keeps calling him a “snitch” and telling people to avoid doing business with Martin’s two cannabis clinics. A boilerplate part of the complaint alleges that each of the defendants — Rosenthal and up to 50 John Does — were agents or employees of the remaining defendants. Rosenthal, referring to himself in the third person, points out in his response that he has “no task force, goon squad, cult members or any other persons whom he controls. Not even his 13-year-old daughter.” More to the point, he argues that Martin’s actions fit the dictionary definition of a snitch, and that if his reputation is suffering, he has himself to blame. “A common term for some-one [sic] who turns ‘state’s evidence’ is the word, SNITCH,” Rosenthal wrote, citing five dictionary definitions that included some equally unsavory synonyms. He argues his statements were truthful and therefore protected, adding that “there is no law that all speech has to make everyone happy or feeling good about themselves.” Then he goes on to ask for an injunction to stop Martin from interfering with his right to free speech. — Pam Smith

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