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IP for Commercial Lawyers - 2018 Conference

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I have been invited to speak ar MBL's IP for Commercial Lawyers - 2018 Conference which will take place in London between 09:30 and 17:15 on 27 Nov 2018.  The conference will cover a wide range of topics from basic concepts to the effect of Brexit on IP rights.  My topic is "Patents - What happens after Brexit£ which will address the thorny question of whether there is any chance that the Unified Patent Court will ever open its doors.

As brands, designs and plant varieties can be protected throughout the European Union by EU trade marks, registered and unregistered Community designs and Community plant variety rights and as much of our national trade mark, registered design, copyright, trade secrecy and patent law has been harmonized by EU directives, our withdrawal from the EU will have far-reaching consequences for British businesses which I have charted in my Brexit blog.

Recently the government has published a series of guidance notes to businesses and individuals on how…

Can you keep a Secret? Non-Disclosure Agreements, Trade Secrets, Use, Abuse and the New Law

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Jane Lambert

A recent decision of the Court of Appeal to enforce a non-disclosure agreement ("NDA") by means of an interim injunction has led to a promise by the Prime Minister to review the law relating to such agreements (see Court stops Telegraph publishing 'sexual harassment' story24 Oct 2018 BBC website).

While NDAs,  like any legal instrument can be abused, they are a very useful business tool.   They enable inventors to discuss their inventions with potential collaborators and investors before they are ready to apply for patents.  They prevent the disclosure or use of sensitive commercial information that may have taken years to gather.  They allow business relations to continue between parties to potentially damaging disputes.

Earlier this year the trade secrecy laws of the 28 member states of the European Union including the UK were harmonized by Directive 2016/943.  While the UK already complied with most of the Directive's provisions, the new law has cr…

M-SParc - Anglesey's Science Park

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Jane Lambert

While I have been on holiday in Beaumaris I have discovered this interesting initiative by Bangor University which opened on 1 March 2018. It is a science park on the main road between the Britannia and Menai suspension bridges and Holyhead. A strategic location between the nearest pert to Dublin and the Northern Powerhouse cities of Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Liverpool and not far from Anglesey Airport which offers regular flights to Cardiff.

According to the park's website it offers "laboratory, office, and clean workshop space, created with input from companies of all sizes who work in the science and technology sectors with a focus on Low Carbon."  It appears that several businesses have already taken up that offer.

I have already subscribed M-SParc's newsletter and I shall contact it formally after I return to work on Monday to learn more about the park and its tenants.

Forthcoming Conference in Luxembourg on Innovation, Space Technologies, and Patents

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Jane Lambert

There has been a lot of interest in space in this country with the passage of the Space Industry Act 2018 in March and the UK Space Authority's recent announcements of the first UK vertical launch facility in the UK (see Lockheed Martin and Orbex to launch UK into new space age16 July 2018) and the venue for the next UK Space Conference (see Wales announced as host for UK Space Conference 201917 July 2018). I have blogged about those developments in Commercial Exploitation of Space: Space Industry Act 201810 April 2018 NIPC Law, Space Industry - Licensing Spaceports11 April 2018 NIPC Law and Newport to host UK Space Conference19 July 2018 NIPC Severn).

There has been similar interest in space in other parts of Europe and in particular Luxembourg which has recently enacted legislation on the exploitation and utilization of space resources.   The Luxembourg Ministry of the Economy in collaboration with the European Patent Academy has just announced a one day conference …

Like the Curate's Egg - The White Paper on the Future Relationship between the UK and EU

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Jane Lambert

The dialogue between the curate and his bishop runs as follows:

Bishop: "I'm afraid you've got a bad egg, Mr Jones";
Curate: "Oh, no, my Lord, I assure you that parts of it are excellent!" 
The white paper on The future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Unionhas not satisfied many people on either side of the Brexit debate, but it is not all bad.   In fact, just like the curate's egg two parts of it could well be described as excellent.

One is a commitment at para 148 to:

"explore a new bilateral agreement with the EU, which would cover a coherent package of rules on jurisdiction, choice of jurisdiction, applicable law, and recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil, commercial, insolvency and family matters. This would seek to build on the principles established in the Lugano Convention and subsequent developments at EU level in civil judicial cooperation between the UK and Member States. This would also …

Checking your Confidentiality Clauses and Agreements for Compliance with the Trade Secrets Directive

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On 9 June 2018 the Trade Secrets Directive was implemented into English and Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish law by The Trade Secrets (Enforcement etc) Regulations 2018. I discussed the directive's provisions in The Trade Secrets Directive7 July 2016 NIPC Law and its implementation in Transposing the Trade Secrets Directive into English Law: The Trade Secrets (Enforcement etc) Regulations6 June 2018. I also advised that Trade Secrecy Law changes Tomorrow - check your NDA, Standard Terms and other Agreements8 June 2018 NIPC Inventors Club. In this article I consider the checks that business owners and professional advisers should make to ensure that their contract terms comply with the new law.

References to Confidentiality Agreements in the Directive
The Trade Secrets Directive makes only two references to confidentiality agreements.   Art 4 (3) (b) lists "being in breach of a confidentiality agreement" as one of the circumstances in which the  disclosure of a trade se…

British Ratification of the UPC Agreement - Possibly the best thing to happen on World Intellectual Property Day

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Jane Lambert
I mentioned the IPAN World IP Day conference in Happy World Intellectual Property Dayearlier today.  I knew that the Minister would speak at the event but I did not know that he would announce British Ratification of the Unified Patent Court Agreement.  But that is precisely what happened (see Sam Gyimah announces ratification of the Unified Patent Court Agreement26 April 2018 IPO).
That does not mean that the Unified Patent Court will open its doors any time soon or that the UK can remain party to the agreement after Brexit.  The German Constitutional Court has still to hear and determine a constitutional complaint by the German IP lawyer, Dr Ingve Björn Stjerna, on the constitutionality of the UPC Agreement and that may take more than the 11 months in which the UK remains a member of the EU (see One Year to Brexit - Are Rumours of the Death of the Unified Patent Court Agreement Greatly Exaggerated?29 March 2018. As I said in Withdrawal Agreement - Not a Done Deal Yet26 …