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When sharing your trade secrets with others, just remember that NDAs are like confetti

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No longer the neglected step-child of IP:

Trade secrets have been the neglected step-child of IP but that situation is fast changing. There are various forces at play helping to increase the importance of trade secrets.

Firstly, the law is changing.

·       The Defend Trade Secrets Act passed in the USA in May 2016

·       The EU Directive on Trade Secrets is enacted by member state on 9 June 2018

·       China explicitly included trade secrets in its 2018 revisions to the Anti Unfair Competition Law

Changes in the eligibility requirements and enforcement mechanisms of patent laws around the world, but especially those in the US – and especially as they relate to software and business methods, make trade secrets an attractive mechanism to protect a company’s competitive advantages. (more…)

Brexit and IP: EUIPO Q&A document

brexit-1481028_1920The EUIPO has recently published a Q&A document relating to the impact of Brexit on EU trade marks (EUTMs) and registered community designs (RCDs). This document was effectively the third publication on the impact of Brexit on Intellectual Property after the EU Commission’s position paper last year and the EUIPO’s notice which was published in December 2017 (and updated in January 2018). (more…)

The Road to Brexit: EU Commission Draft Withdrawal Agreement and the UK PM’s Mansion House Speech

brexit-1481028_1920Last Wednesday the European Commission published its draft Withdrawal Agreement relating to the withdrawal of the UK from the EU and the European Atomic Energy Community. This was followed a couple of days later by a speech from the Prime Minister which set out some more details about the UK position. Intellectual property got a mention in both the Withdrawal Agreement and the Mansion House speech. (more…)

Abuse of IP: The Effects of Counterfeiting on the Fashion Industry

louis-vuitton-2628969_640The phenomenon of counterfeiting has been around as long as couture itself. The rise of the internet and e-commerce has created an ideal breeding ground for counterfeiting due to the anonymity it provides and the proliferation of distribution channels. Protection against counterfeiting is difficult because it requires continuous monitoring of a brand and how its trade marks are used. (more…)

Mother Teresa’s Sari becomes a Registered Trade Mark

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pixabay.com

Mother Teresa died on 5th September 1997, in Calcutta, India. In her will she outlined that her likeness should not be used after her death for trade purposes, according to Biswajit Sarkar, an India-based lawyer who undertakes pro-bono work for the Missionaries of Charity, a religious Order founded by Mother Teresa.

Mother Teresa was known for wearing her characteristic white sari with three blue stripes on the borders, one thicker than the rest; this blue-and-white striped sari is woven specifically for the Missionaries of Charity by leprosy patients living in a home run by the Order. Nearly 4000 saris are woven every year. These garments are then distributed to nuns all over the world who work for the Missionaries of Charity and they are worn as a religious uniform. When Mr Sarkar heard about unauthorised sales of blue-and-white striped saris resembling that worn by Mother Teresa, and about instances of people trying to use Mother Teresa’s name for commercial gain, he applied to register a colour trade mark for the blue-and-white sari in India. (more…)

Top 5 tips for protecting trade secrets

spy-camera-1702973_1280With the new EU Trade Secrets Directive coming into force in June 2018, Dr Chris Hayes of Lewis Silkin details his top 5 tips for protecting trade secrets. (more…)

A “To Do” suggestion for the new IP Minister

brexit-1481028_1920“Uncertainty abounds” might as well be the summary for any article that’s written at the moment about Brexit.

After a 2017 in which the Prime Minister apparently sought to find out just how many times she could shoot her own party in the foot (triggering Article 50 before the UK was ready, setting out unnecessary redlines and calling a snap General Election) we somehow managed to agree a deal in the first phase of the EU talks. However, the shape of the UK’s post-Brexit relationship is still unknown and the negotiations are on a break while everyone works out what they want. (more…)

Spinning out without falling over

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[pixabay.com]

When a spin-out company is successful the results can be spectacular. In 2014 Zynga Inc acquired NaturalMotion, a leading games and technology company from Oxford University Innovation whose game titles include Dawn of Titans and CSR Racing, for more than US $527 million.

University spin-outs are growing with companies such as Applied Graphene Materials and PureLiFi hitting mainstream news. In the UK, spin-out programs are centered on university campuses and supported by two key government initiatives, the Enterprise Fund and University Challenge Scheme. The UK has the highest number of spin-out support programmes in Europe, with the main players being Oxford and Cambridge University. As well as benefiting universities, businesses and investors, the success of spin-outs is making an impact on regional and economic development too. On the back of this success more and more universities and investors are looking into possibility of spin-outs of their own.  (more…)

New Year’s resolutions, IP and Fitness

Leaving the overindulgence of the Christmas period and entering into the New Year of 2018, we will inevitably see an abrupt shift from yuletide-themed adverts to January clearance sales, and with it the traditional bombardment of reminders to buy sofas at half of the (alleged) recommended retail price, prompts to start putting down instalments on that dream summer holiday and, of course, the fitness and/or health-themed myriad of adverts that boisterously tell us to “start afresh” this New Year.  (more…)

EUIPO Notice on Brexit – December 2017

On 5th December, the European Commission issued a notice, countersigned by the EUIPO, to right-holders of, and applicants for, EU trade marks (EUTMs) and Registered Community Designs (RCDs), looking at the potential scenario in which no agreement is reached between the UK and the remaining 27 EU Member States in the Brexit negotiations.

The notice states that, unless a ratified withdrawal agreement establishes another withdrawal date or the period is extended, on 30th March 2019 the UK will become a “third country”, i.e. it will no longer be an EU Member State. Any EUTM or RCD rights granted by the EUIPO on or after the withdrawal date will only be valid in the 27 EU Member States and will no longer have effect in the UK.

It is expected that the UKIPO will recognise EUTMs and RCDs that were registered prior to the above cut-off date by granting protection on the UK Register. However, IPcopy recommends giving consideration to filing UK and EU trade marks and designs simultaneously, to ensure adequate protection. (more…)