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MICROSOFT ENJOYS RARE BAY AREA WIN A San Francisco jury on Friday cleared Microsoft Corp. of any wrongdoing in a trade secret suit brought by Pixion Inc. Pleasanton-based Pixion, which makes Web conferencing software, filed the suit against PlaceWare Inc. in June 2003 after Microsoft acquired PlaceWare for about $250 million. Pixion had been seeking as much as $72 million for alleged theft of its trade secrets after a licensing deal with PlaceWare expired. Before the case went to trial, U.S. District Judge Susan Illston had dismissed the patent portion of Pixion’s claims against Microsoft. “This is the first time Microsoft has had a defense verdict in the Bay Area,” said Microsoft attorney Michael Bettinger, a partner at Preston Gates & Ellis’ San Francisco office. Microsoft spokeswoman Stacy Drake said PlaceWare had ceased using the technology in question before the lawsuit was filed. Drake noted that at any given time Microsoft is involved in about 30 patent suits. Pixion attorney Spencer Hosie, of Hosie Frost Large & McArthur, said he was disappointed in the verdict and would appeal it. “I think we were significantly hampered by the summary judgment ruling that preceded the trial” limiting the nature and number of trade secrets that could be presented to the jury, Hosie said. Hosie is pursuing a much bigger suit against Microsoft that is set to go to trial in the summer or early fall. — Brenda Sandburg LOCKYER TAPS NEW CONSUMER LAW CHIEF Attorney General Bill Lockyer has announced the permanent appointment of Albert Shelden to head up the Consumer Law Section. Shelden, who has worked for the attorney general’s office since 1973, replaces Herschel Elkins, who left his post a year ago to fill a newly created post as the AG’s special assistant for Consumer Policy, Coordination and Development. Shelden, a senior assistant attorney general, has headed up the Consumer Law Section on a temporary basis since Elkins’ departure. Shelden, a 1969 Rutgers School of Law graduate, won the California Attorney General’s Award for Excellence in 1985, 1997 and 2000. He also argued People v. McKale, 25 Cal.3d 626, a 1979 California Supreme Court unfair competition case. Consumer Law, a part of the Division of Public Rights, monitors unsafe products, deceptive and unfair business practices and misleading advertising. — Jill Duman

New Partners

MANATT ELEVATES EIGHT TO PARTNER Los Angeles’ Manatt, Phelps & Phillips has elevated eight lawyers to the firm’s partnership, effective Jan. 1. One of them, H. Katerina Hertzog, 34, is in the firm’s Palo Alto office. Hertzog, a member of the business and transactions division, earned her J.D. in 1995 from Santa Clara University School of Law. Five attorneys were promoted in the firm’s Los Angeles office, one in the firm’s Orange County office and one in the New York office. Last year, Manatt promoted four attorneys to the rank of partner. — Marie-Anne Hogarth

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