Decompiling the rules on trade secrets, software and reverse engineering – the sequel

In my previous post from January last year I discussed reverse engineering in light of the Trade Secrets Directive (“TSD”) as well as the Software Directive (“SD”). I strongly recommend you to review my previous post (here) before reading this piece, since said post lays the foundations for the arguments and considerations discussed below.

The focus of this article will lie on implementation of the provision on reverse engineering in Finnish legislation. A very interesting aspect here is the relationship between trade secrets and copyright, which is why I have chosen to discuss in particular in this post.

Background

As a consequence of the adoption of the TSD, the Finnish Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment (“MEAE”) assigned a working group to prepare the national implementation of the TSD in Finland. On 18 October 2017, the working group published its recommendation (“Finnish Proposal”) in which it proposes reform and consolidation of the Finnish legislation concerning the protection and civil enforcement of trade secrets. The aim is to enhance the protection of trade secrets by providing effective legal remedies against trade secret misappropriation. In the Finnish Proposal, it is suggested that the TSD would be mainly implemented by a wholly new Trade Secrets Act.

Continue reading “Decompiling the rules on trade secrets, software and reverse engineering – the sequel”

Final Countdown! New EU data protection law applies as of 25 May 2018

Guest post by Helmut Liebel*

In only a few months, the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will be directly applicable in all EU member states. The GDPR replaces the 1995 EU Data Protection Directive. For the first time, a uniform, directly applicable EU data protection law is introduced.

 

THE AIM

The GDPR protects personal data of natural persons, such as employees, customers and suppliers. Regardless whether companies (as controllers) process the data of such data subjects in the EU themselves or task processors with this job, in each case they must comply with the GDPR. Continue reading “Final Countdown! New EU data protection law applies as of 25 May 2018”

CJEU (C-179/16, Hoffman-La Roche): infringement of pharmacovigilance obligations may give rise to EU competition law liability

On 23 January 2018, the European Court of Justice (“CJEU”) issued its preliminary ruling in the Hoffman-La Roche case, where it had the chance to address some major issues regarding competition law in the pharmaceutical sector. The request for a preliminary ruling had been referred by the Italian Consiglio di Stato in relation to a cartel case where the Italian Competition Authority had fined Roche and Novartis for a total amount of 180 million euros.

Continue reading “CJEU (C-179/16, Hoffman-La Roche): infringement of pharmacovigilance obligations may give rise to EU competition law liability”

Latest update on the crispr cas9: the patent battle continues in Europe

Guest post by Lucia Tamayo Del Portillo*

After causing major buzz in 2017 due to the decision of the patent interference procedure before the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) which is currently under review in Federal Court, the Crispr Cas9 patent battle enters into 2018 with another shocking decision, this time rendered by the opposition division of the European Patent Office (EPO).

As readers may recall, Crispr Cas9 is a gene editing tool that allows scientists to manipulate DNA of living organisms in a cost-effective manner with accurate precision and the possibility to add, amend or delete parts of DNA sequences. The technology has multiple applications in different industries, with, of course, human health being the most promising and profitable one. Continue reading “Latest update on the crispr cas9: the patent battle continues in Europe”

Beijing IP Court delivers the first judgment on GUI design infringement in China

China’s first lawsuit for infringement of graphical user interface (GUI) design has been recently concluded by the Beijing IP Court. This case has attracted much public attention, as GUI designs have become protectable in China by so-called design patents only as of 1 May 2014, and despite a large number of GUI design patents being granted since then, their enforceability remained untested until the present case. The judgment issued on 25 December 2017 now results in heated discussion and leaves, in particular, software developers counting on strong GUI design protection very disappointed. Continue reading “Beijing IP Court delivers the first judgment on GUI design infringement in China”

CJEU (C-230/16, Coty Germany): sales via internet platforms can be prohibited within selective distribution systems

On December 6, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) delivered its final ruling in the Coty case. This is a landmark judgment, since it will have a strong impact on the internet sales strategies of all those companies that, in order to preserve the quality of their products and ensure their proper use, want to use a selective distribution system. In this regard, it has to be recalled that from the perspective of EU competition law, selective distribution is a distribution system where the supplier undertakes to sell the contract goods or services only to retailers which meet specified qualitative criteria and where these retailers undertake to sell such goods only to final consumers or to other authorised retailers within the territory reserved by the supplier to operate that system.

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The European Commission provides guidance on SEP licensing but leaves open issues

On November 29, the European Commission published its long-awaited “Communication setting out the EU approach to standard-essential patents” (SEPs). The stakeholders were expecting from the Commission in-depth guidance on the definition of fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms in the context of SEP licensing. However, the Commission did not address all the open issues, leaving room for continued legal uncertainty on the exact meaning of FRAND. Continue reading “The European Commission provides guidance on SEP licensing but leaves open issues”

SEP licensing and competition law: DOJ and European Commission bless a new “patent-friendly” approach

Recently, the debate on the applicability of competition law to the licensing of standard-essential patents (SEPs) has come to a turning point. Indeed, both the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and the European Commission are making an attempt to provide a final answer to the following questions:

1) should the conduct of SEP-holders be subject to the application of competition law?

2) should standard-setting organisations (SSO) provide guidance on the meaning of “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory” terms (FRAND), or would that guidance amount to a price-fixing cartel?

Continue reading “SEP licensing and competition law: DOJ and European Commission bless a new “patent-friendly” approach”

AG Saugmandsgaard Øe provides guidance on the application of EU competition law in the pharmaceutical sector

On 21 September Advocate General Saugmandsgaard Øe provided his Opinion to the CJEU on some key issues regarding competition law in the pharmaceutical sector. The request for a preliminary ruling was referred by the Italian Supreme Administrative Court (“Consiglio di Stato”) in relation to a cartel case where the Italian Competition Authority (“ICA”) fined Roche and Novartis for a total amount of 180 million euros.

Continue reading “AG Saugmandsgaard Øe provides guidance on the application of EU competition law in the pharmaceutical sector”

Excessive use of online information collected on third parties’ websites amounts to unfair competition – rules the Shanghai IP Court in the Hantao v. Baidu case in China

Never has information on the internet been as interconnected as it is today. Thanks to the so-called web scraping technology, in which computer programs are used to extract information from different websites, online platforms are able to incorporate related information from different sources into a single webpage so that users can find and utilize desired information in a convenient way. However, the legality to use information collected by others deserves cautious examination, and unfair competition law is one of the aspects to be considered.

In September, the Shanghai Intellectual Property Court issued a second-instance judgment in Hantao v. Baidu case, laying out useful guidelines for assessing whether unauthorized use of information collected by others constitutes an act of unfair competition. Continue reading “Excessive use of online information collected on third parties’ websites amounts to unfair competition – rules the Shanghai IP Court in the Hantao v. Baidu case in China”