Fearing a "circus" atmosphere, Microsoft Corporation announced Wednesday that it would appeal Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's ruling that upcoming depositions could be open to the public. The company primarily wishes to protect its trade secrets, but it also finds offense with a rare 1913 statue that Jackson cited as his rationale for opening the court to the public.

"We think that it is important to protect the judicial process and to protect confidential information from dozens of companies," said Microsoft spokesman Mark Murray. "We believe that the public nature of the deposition would undermine the deposition process and create a cumbersome process that might turn these proceedings into a circus rather than findings of fact."

Microsoft is even offering a solution for the courts: Videotape the depositions and release them to the press with any mention of trade secrets removed.