Trading secrets safely in Europe (Brands & IP Newsnotes - Issue 2)
28 March 2016
In December 2015, while most of us were busy wrapping presents and eating mince pies, the representatives of the European Parliament and Council agreed the text of the Trade Secrets Directive.
The Directive is expected to come into force later this month and Member States will have two years to implement its provisions in national law. The Directive aims to harmonise the protection of trade secrets across member states to increase innovation and assist with cross border R&D. It provides minimum levels of protection for trade secrets across Europe, including in the course of legal proceedings. Businesses across Europe will have civil means through which they can stop unlawful use and further disclosure of misappropriated trade secrets, including a basis for removing goods from the market that have been manufactured on the basis of illegally acquired trade secrets.
Some commentators argue that the Directive is unnecessary. However, protection in Europe is patchy and inconsistent. In some jurisdictions there are currently no uniform procedures to keep trade secrets confidential in litigation; in others, there is no access to injunctive relief and no protection for whistle blowers. That companies operating across Europe can enjoy uniform protection for their trade secrets is surely positive. However, questions remain over several definitions in the Directive which may need clarification. No doubt there will be references to the CJEU.
Get your stamps out
Given steps need to be taken to protect the confidential information at issue for it to fall within the new definition of ‘trade secret’, companies would be wise to look at their policies. Marking documents as confidential and considering who has access to certain information and whether or not everyone that has access actually needs access will become increasingly important.
The lesser spotted shape mark (Brands & IP Newsnotes - Issue 2)28 March 2016
A picture says a 1000 words or so the saying goes. So what about a shape? Several recent decisions have underlined the difficulties that can arise in trying to use shapes to protect a brand.
‘Glee’ less than happy after trade mark strife (Brands & IP Newsnotes - Issue 2)28 March 2016
We’re all familiar with the classic trade markdispute. But can you sue for trade markinfringement if the brand using your name is actually more famous than your own? In February, the Court of Appeal said you could.
Stop monkeying around (Brands & IP Newsnotes - Issue 2)28 March 2016
A judge in California has put a stop to all the monkey business surrounding the idea that animals can own copyright, in California at least.
Play those bars again and end up behind… bars (Brands & IP Newsnotes - Issue 2)28 March 2016
The High Court has handed down a custodial sentence of 28 days for breach of an injunction against copyright infringement, albeit suspended for a period of 18 months. Two points rang out.
To register or not to register… that is the question (Brands & IP Newsnotes - Issue 2)28 March 2016
Just because you can register your intellectual property, it doesn’t mean that you should. Sometimes attempts to register can have unintended consequences, as YouTube stars, the Fine Brothers, recently found out.
Kylie v Kylie (Brands & IP Newsnotes - Issue 2)28 March 2016
It isn’t often that trade mark oppositions receive mainstream media attention. Kylie Minogue has bucked that trend by filing an opposition to reality TV star Kylie Jenner’s trade mark application for ‘Kylie’ in the US.
But we settled that! (Brands & IP Newsnotes - Issue 2)28 March 2016
Parties will understandably often be relieved to sign on the dotted line of that “full and final” settlement agreement. But two decisions of the High Court earlier this year may give pause for thought. What is the practical effect of such a settlement and is it really what the parties want?