Intellectual Property - A Legal Prespective. By Napthens Solicitors.


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Presentation Slides from InfoLab21 and the Intellectual Property Office's event: "Intellectual Property: Value Creation" at Lancaster House Hotel on 14th February 2012.

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Intellectual Property - A Legal Prespective. By Napthens Solicitors.

  1. 1. Intellectual Property IP: A Legal Perspective
  2. 2. Welcome <ul><li>Introduction – Benjamin Dredge & Napthens LLP </li></ul><ul><li>Section 1 - Authorship & Ownership of IP </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Overall confusion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Copyright, Patents, Databases </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Employees vs. Contracts </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Section 2- Confidentiality Agreements / NDAs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Basics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Key terms & provisions </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Intellectual Property <ul><li>SECTION 1 </li></ul><ul><li>Authorship and Ownership </li></ul>
  4. 4. IP: Authorship and Ownership <ul><li>IP limits what an owner of personal property can do with the things they own </li></ul><ul><li>Overlap, technical legal ease, confusion </li></ul><ul><li>IP an essential asset - can be: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Competitive edge </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Distinct part of business model </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How consumers identify with you </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Therefore should be in everyone’s interest to identify, formalise authorship and ownership </li></ul>
  5. 5. Copyright <ul><li>Tangible rights versus intangible rights – letter of the law </li></ul><ul><li>Tangible rights of property owner </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Store </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gift or transfer </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Intangible rights of copyright </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Prevent copying </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stop publication </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Licence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assign </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Patents <ul><li>Default position: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The inventor or joint inventors shall be deemed to be those persons entitled to apply for a patent and thereby become the first owners of such intellectual property right…. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>UNLESS the position is to the contrary by virtue of: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>a rule of law; or </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>a contractual term which applies to the inventor </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Patents - Employees <ul><li>Patents Act 1977 Section 39 </li></ul><ul><li>For those employees who do not have a &quot; special obligation to further interests of the employers undertaking “….. then the invention belongs to the employer where: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the invention was created &quot; in the course of the normal duties of the employee &quot; ; or </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>in the course of &quot; specially assigned duties &quot;; and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>it might &quot; reasonably be expected to result from the carrying out of his duties “ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Case Law - Liffe v Pinkava </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Patents - Contractors <ul><li>Outsourcing R&D - be cautious </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Legal title to invention lies with contractor – unless contractual term to provide otherwise </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ensure a contractual term - all IP rights to vest with the company </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>WITHOUT such a term, contractual uncertainty, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>seek remedy through courts ? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Worst case scenario ? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Right only to hold a licence to practice the invention </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Not overall ownership </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Key points of concern: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sub-contractors and foreign contractors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Part funding of research and academic institutions </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Databases <ul><li>Governed by the rules of both copyright and EU database rights </li></ul><ul><li>If a contractor is engaged to compile a database and no written terms regarding ownership of IP: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The contractor will own the copyright in that database, but </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The EU database rights will reside with the company (or commissioner) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Both different restrictions and durations of protection </li></ul><ul><li>Beware if sub-contracting the compilation or creation of databases </li></ul>
  10. 10. Intellectual Property <ul><li>SECTION 2 </li></ul><ul><li>Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure Agreements </li></ul>
  11. 11. Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure Agreements <ul><li>Two main purposes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Obligation to maintain confidential nature of information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Increases the likelihood of enforcing implied confidentiality obligation upon the recipient of the confidential information </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cannot provide an absolute guarantee of protection! </li></ul><ul><li>Common sense - vital when protecting confidential information – e.g: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Only disclose what information is absolutely necessary </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide controlled hard copies of documentation to ensure data is controlled to fullest extent </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. The basics… <ul><li>Mentioned, negotiated and signed up before information is disclosed </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Historically disclosed information difficult to protect </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Standard or template two-way confidentiality agreement </li></ul><ul><li>Very useful when information is not capable of any other form of IP protection </li></ul><ul><li>Always consider the parties entering into the agreement </li></ul><ul><ul><li>With newly incorporated or a corporate front for an individual - minimal protection </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Executed by an appropriately authorised person if being entered into by a company </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Key Terms – Duration <ul><li>Time period should always be negotiable! </li></ul><ul><li>Consider type of information to be disclosed and possibility that on termination might be freely available to the public </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Commercial data - may lose value after short period of time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Business models - may require longer period of protection </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Chemical formulas - may require ongoing obligation of confidentiality </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Large companies and PLCs will be nervous but consider…. </li></ul><ul><li>on termination is the information no longer of value? </li></ul>
  14. 14. Key Terms – “ Confidential information” <ul><li>Definition does not automatically make it confidential! </li></ul><ul><li>Frequent exceptions for information </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In the public domain </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Already known to the recipient </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Becomes known to the recipient through an alternative source </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Blanket definition of confidential information may be subject to challenge by a court </li></ul><ul><li>Case Law - Faccenda Chicken v Fowler  </li></ul>
  15. 15. Key Terms – “ Permitted purpose” <ul><li>What can the “Confidential Information” be used for? </li></ul><ul><li>Often neglected, but can be the most important clause </li></ul><ul><li>Without it, only an obligation not to disclose </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Technically possible to use the information to compete with the disclosing party </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Immediately foreseeable intentions of the parties. What if circumstances change? </li></ul><ul><li>Beware: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Obligation to provide data or information, should always discretionary </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unintentionally binding yourself into entering further contractual arrangements or procuring services </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Key Terms – “ Indemnity” <ul><li>Strongest form of contractual protection possible </li></ul><ul><li>In the event of breach, indemnity basis of damages </li></ul><ul><li>Breach of contract claim vs. indemnity claim: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Duty to mitigate loss vs. no such duty </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Remedy to be placed back in same position had breach not have occurred vs. pound for pound recovery inc costs and expenses </li></ul></ul><ul><li>NB: Should indemnity not be accepted, may be possible to provide for a liquidated damages clause </li></ul>
  17. 17. Key boilerplate or standard clauses <ul><li>Jurisdiction clause – UK courts only </li></ul><ul><li>Governing law – UK courts only </li></ul><ul><li>Entire agreement clause – avoid argument of further obligations </li></ul>
  18. 18. Remedies for breach <ul><li>Act quickly! Avoid prejudicing your claim </li></ul><ul><li>Injunctive relief - most effective remedy </li></ul><ul><li>Value of the information often based on the date when the breach occurred and not the future value of such information </li></ul>
  19. 19. Key points of caution <ul><li>Group?  Consider complex corporate structures </li></ul><ul><li>Man of straw?  May not be capable of paying damages </li></ul><ul><li>Oral disclosures?  US approach </li></ul><ul><li>Confidentiality can be outweighed by public interest </li></ul><ul><ul><li>case Law - Lion Laboratories Ltd v Evans </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Always keep records and note durations of NDAs for which you / company are bound by </li></ul>