The Danish implementation of the Trade Secrets Directive – does the new law benefit the owners or the infringers?

As of June 9, 2018, an entirely new Law has been implemented in Denmark, namely the Danish Act on Trade Secrets, which implements the Directive of the European Parliament and the Council on protection of trade secrets (hereinafter “the Directive”). The new law replaces paragraph 23 in the Danish Marketing Act, which up until now has been the primary legislative guard against unlawful use of trade secrets, of course supplemented by case law.

Prior to the Directive, trade secrets have been a solely national affair in EU which has caused uncertainty as to the protection of trade secrets and the enforcement of such in case of unlawful use.

The purpose of the Directive is to establish a uniform regulation for the protection of trade secrets for businesses within the European Union to make it easier for businesses and in particular businesses operating cross border to get an overview of the trade secrets legislation. Continue Reading

Smartphones, tablets, hard drives and the blank tape levy: Recent developments in Greece

The issue of the blank tape levy, due for certain devices and media which are suitable for the reproduction of protected works as equitable remuneration for the reproduction for private use, and which is payable by the importers or manufacturers of such devices, has often in recent years been a subject of dispute between creators, Collective Management Organizations and businesses of the IT and electronics sector in Greece.

The amendments made to the Greek Copyright Law 2121/1993 by Law 4481/2017 last summer, included the modification, after several draft proposals, of Article 18 of Law 2121/1993 on equitable remuneration and the blank tape levy. In the final provision voted in July 2017, the legislator decided to explicitly include in the general enumeration of devices subject to the blank tape levy, computers, tablets and smartphones, provided, though, that their RAM size is larger than 4GB. However, in the specific provisions where the percentage of the levy for each device category was provided, while for computers and tablets with a RAM larger than 4GB the blank tape levy was set at 2% of their value, no percentage at all was set for smartphones. Continue Reading

The Catch-22 Of Litigating Your Trade Secrets Case Without Revealing The Secrets Themselves

“You mean there’s a catch?”

“Sure there’s a catch,” Doc Daneeka replied. “Catch-22. Anyone who wants to get out of combat duty isn’t really crazy.”

There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he was sane, he had to fly them. If he flew them, he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to, he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.

 [Heller, Catch-22, at 52 (1999, S &S Classics Edition))] Continue Reading

European Unified Patent Court agreement ratified by the UK

On 26 April, the UK ratified the EU’s Unified Patent Court (UPC) agreement. Although much of intellectual property law and practice is already harmonised amongst EU member states, a UPC would set up a common patent court for the hearing of intellectual property cases, and the direct applicability of its rulings, across all EU member states – something which is currently not the case, as patent cases (even for European Patent Office granted patents) are presently litigated on a country by country basis. The UPC would have the competence to hear cases regarding European patents with unitary effect, but also other European patents registered within states which have ratified the UPC agreement.

The UK is now the 16th European state to ratify the UPC agreement and, with France having ratified in 2014, only Germany’s ratification (alongside the UK and France, as one of the three countries with the most European patents in effect) is necessary for the agreement to come into force and for the UPC to come into operation. Presently, Germany’s constitutional court, the Bundesverfassungsgericht, has requested the German Federal President hold off on ratification until a domestic constitutional challenge to the agreement has been dealt with. The case is listed to be heard later this year. Continue Reading

NCAA Obtains Injunction Over “March Madness” and “Final Four” Trademarks

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana sided with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and awarded a permanent injunction against game developer Kizzang Inc. (Kizzang) over a mobile and online game that infringed the NCAA’s trademarks “March Madness” and “Final Four.”

Background
The NCAA administers inter-collegiate sports across the United States and is best known for the Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, held in March each year. The NCAA owns a number of trademarks related to that tournament, most prominently “March Madness,” “Final Four,” “Elite Eight” and “Sweet Sixteen,” and does not permit using the NCAA’s name, trademarks or tickets in connection with marketing or promotional activities without prior approval. Continue Reading

THE NEW LEGAL FRAMEWORK IN GREECE ABOUT CASH REBATES FOR THE PRODUCTION OF AUDIOVISUAL WORKS

INTRODUCTION

The purpose of the present article is a brief and general outline of the new legal framework in Greece about the state aid scheme for the production of audiovisual works in Greece based on the incentive of a cash rebate of the 25% of the eligible costs of the production incurred within the Greek territory.

  1. THE LEGAL FRAMEWORK

The law 4487/2017 inter alia provides proceedings for a financial state aid that intend to encourage the production of audiovisual works in Greece by a cash rebate of 25% of the eligible costs incurred in Greece. The provisions of the law were specified by the joint ministerial decision 923/23.03.2018 (published in Government’s Gazette vol. B no. 1138/28.03.2018). The law 4487/2017 has been issued under the provisions of the EU Regulation 651/2014 (Block Exemption Regulation) that has declared several types of state aid as compatible with the common market and the EU law according to the articles 107 and 108 of the Treaty (the Regulation in article 54 includes specific provisions for aid schemes for audiovisual works). Therefore, the provisions of the Regulation are also applicable. Continue Reading

Fast-track trademark and patent registration has become available in Russia

Recently Rospatent officially launched a service for fast-track registration of trademarks and patents.

The fast-track option has become available for those applicants who ordered and payed an official trademark search report in Rospatent in respect of all 45 Nice classes.

The official fee for this service is EUR 1 500 (RUR 94 400), the term is 10 calendar days. Continue Reading

Can Inventions Related to Cannabis be Protected?

Suppose that you want to obtain a patent for an invention related to your cannabis business.  What if the invention is a device for extracting oils, an ornamental design for a new vaporizer, or a new breed of cannabis plant?  Should you attempt to patent your invention with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office?  Can you obtain a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office?  The answer is YES! if the invention meets certain conditions for patentability.

To obtain a U.S. patent, three conditions for patentability have to be met under 35 U.S.C. Sections 101, 102, and 103.  Under 35 U.S.C. 101, whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent therefor.  Since almost all inventions are useful such as the device, the ornamental design, or asexual reproduction of non-tuber plants, this is an easy condition to meet.  Under 35 U.S.C. Section 102, a person shall be entitled to a patent unless the claimed invention was patented, described in a printed publication, or in public use, on sale, or otherwise available to the public before the effective filing date of the claimed invention.  However, there are exceptions.  For example, a disclosure of an invention made one year or less before the effective filing date of a claimed invention shall not be prior art to the claimed invention.  Under 35 U.S.C. Section 103, a patent for a claimed invention may not be obtained if the differences between the claimed invention and the prior art are such that the claimed invention as a whole would have been obvious before the effective filing date of the claimed invention to a person having ordinary skill in the art to which the claimed invention pertains.  Thus, if the invention related to cannabis is useful, novel, and unobvious, a patent may be obtained. Continue Reading

Fair is foul, and foul is fair: How TV Eyes May Help Us See Through The Blurred Lines & Fog Around Fair Use

First Witch:     When shall we three meet again/In thunder, lightning, or in rain?

Second Witch:  When the hurlyburly’s done,/When the battle’s lost and won.

Third Witch:    That will be ere the set of sun.

***

ALL:                 Fair is foul, and foul is fair:/Hover through the fog and filthy air.

[MacBeth, Act 1, Scene 2]

What constitutes, or should constitute, “fair use” is an ongoing issue in copyright.  Indeed, it has been the focus of postings by this author about books and movies.  As the most recent of those postings noted in conclusion, we continue to struggle with “balanc[ing] the interests” of the newcomers wishing to transform the old into a newer art against “those of the original authors and artists to comfortably control their works.  The debate and contests continue.”  And so we ended there with a promise for a next blog to continue the process of examining the fair use issue—and we are happy to report that the Second Circuit’s February 27, 2018 decision in Fox News Network, LLC v. TVEyes, Inc. goes a long way in helping us differentiate fair from foul in this area and in lifting some of the fog seemingly inherent in fair use tests that eschew bright-line rules.  Thus, it is a useful ruling for lawyers in the United States to review, as well as in the EU where the issue of fair use is at much earlier evolutionary point. Continue Reading

Copyright ownership in workplace. The example of Greece.

Nowadays, intellectual property rights constitute very important assets of the companies. Therefore, in order to avoid conflicts and uncertainty, Greek legislation offers specific provisions concerning the ownership of inventions, designs and the copyright on a work created in the course of an employment relationship. These provisions could be of interest of any company operating in Greece and governed by Greek Law.

Aim of this article is to present the main aspects of copyright ownership within the scope of an employment agreement. The main legislative document is the Greek Copyright Law, Law no 2121/1993 “For the Protection of Copyright and Neighboring rights”, as it is enforced today. Continue Reading

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