Protecting Intellectual Property in "The Cloud"

Fast evolving technologies and needs for better cooperation and communication make use of “the cloud” often than ever. However, from the IP point of view the cloud brings many risks as well as it creates a potential silver lining in terms of data security. WIPO Magazine’s interesting article on how the cloud can strengthen IP protection reveals a new IP safeguard key for today’s new IP world.

You can find the article here.

ICC IP research paper on trade secrets

The contribution of trade secrets to knowledge diffusion and collaborative innovation is the focus of the latest intellectual property research paper from the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

This latest paper aims to inform policymakers about shortcomings in existing frameworks for trade secret protection, which can undermine cross-border collaboration. It comes amid growing awareness among companies of their vulnerability to the theft of confidential business information.

For further information and to freely download the paper, please click here.

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New OECD paper on trade secrets

The OECD has published a new paper on trade secrets: "Uncovering Trade Secrets - An Empirical Assessment of Economic Implications of Protection for Undisclosed Data".

This paper finds that "there has been a notable increase in the stringency of trade secrets protection in a broad sample of countries" in recent years and that "there is a positive association between the stringency of trade secrets protection and key indicators of innovation and international economic flows".

To read this paper, please click here.

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Confidentiality considerations during project preparation

To enable more efficient administration in setting up a Horizon 2020 proposal, a consortium has agreed to make use of cloud server software, where all partners could easily keep in contact with each other and share information.

However, one of the SMEs involved in these negotiations was concerned about the disclosure of information to the partners through the cloud without any prior agreement between the partners. At the same time, however, the period for the preparation of the proposal was of six months duration and therefore the SME was concerned about finding an easy and quick solution, to avoid losing time that should be used for the preparation of the proposal.

In this case study you can see how this consortium easily overcame confidentiality concerns and was able to reach an optimal solution for all partners involved.

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Council agrees its position on the protection of trade secrets

The Council of the European Union, in its composition of EU ministers responsible for competitiveness, adopted a general approach on the draft directive protecting against the theft of confidential business information.

The general approach adopted by the Council establishes a minimum level of harmonisation of civil laws across the EU, while giving member states the scope to apply stricter measures if necessary. It sets the limitation period for an action by the plaintiff at six years and guarantees the confidentiality of legal proceedings. It also aligns principles and legal definitions with existing international agreements. 

The general approach paves the way to start negotiations with the European Parliament with a view to reaching an agreement at first reading. The European Parliament has not delivered its opinion yet.

For more information, please click here.

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European IPR Helpdesk templates on NDAs and MoUs updated

We are pleased to inform you that the European IPR Helpdesk has updated its Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs)  that can now be used independently of the kind of negotiations that you enter into, both in the context of EU-funded projects and for international partnerships.

In addition to that, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Horizon 2020 has been created. Alongside the one already available for FP7, the new document reflects the few changes brought by the new Horizon 2020 rules.

All these templates can be found and freely downloaded in the European IPR Helpdesk online library, under useful documents.

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H2020 MoU - Memorandum of Understanding

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Horizon 2020 is an agreement that defines the framework of the negotiations among the partners of a consortium and that is generally concluded in the very beginning of the negotiations on the involvement in a project, even before submitting a proposal. It expresses a convergence of will between the parties, indicating an intended common line of action, helping to explain any protocols for communication, information exchange, reporting, confidentiality issues, and modifications and conditions for terminating the agreement.

Copyright management and Creative Commons in FP7

The Creative Commons initiative is not incompatible with copyright and on the contrary is based on the existence of copyright protection, since it allows the work to be licensed to others interested in using the material.

Take a look at this new case study to see how the use of Creative Commons licences can be beneficial for dissemination of project results, without undermining legal protection.

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Commission proposes rules to help protect against the theft of confidential business information

At the end of last week, the European Commission proposed new rules on the protection of confidential business information against their unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure. The draft directive introduces a harmonised definition of trade secrets, as well as means through which victims of trade secret misappropriation can obtain redress.

Trade secret misappropriation is indeed a real problem to European businesses. According to a recent survey, one in five companies has suffered at least one attempt to steal its trade secrets in the last ten years. This directive therefore aims to provide businesses with:

  1. an adequate level of protection;
  2. an effective means of redress if their trade secrets are stolen or misused;
  3. a safer environment in which they can create, share and license valuable know-how and technology across the borders of the single market; and
  4. easier engagement in common and collaborative projects for innovation and research.

For further information, please click here. You can read the proposal here.

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