Intellectual Property & Technology

Written by Luke Dixon | Stephen C. Tupper

The UK Supreme Court (the Court) has upheld the Court of Appeal’s earlier decision that an employee of one of the defendants was not liable for misuse of the claimant’s confidential information.

This case will be of particular interest to businesses with R&D operations in the UK, as it highlights the limitations of employee contracts on protecting trade secrets once an employee has left the business. It also explores how far a claimant can allege that a defendant has been complicit in a “common design” to misuse trade secrets, when the defendant had no knowledge of the trade secrets or their misuse.

Vestergaard’s business was the development, manufacture and marketing of insecticidal bednets, which were designed to prevent the sleeper from being bitten by mosquitos, and also to reduce the mosquito population. Vestergaard had developed certain techniques to manufacture and sell long-lasting insecticidal nets, known as “LLINs”.
Continue Reading

Written by Luke Dixon

The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom rules on protection of Stormtrooper headgear and justiciability of U.S. copyright in English courts

The UK Supreme Court (which has replaced the House of Lords as the highest judicial body) has upheld the lower courts’ decisions in a dispute involving copyright in the helmets of the “Stormtrooper” characters from the Star Wars film series but widened the scope of non-UK copyright infringement actions.

In Lucasfilm Limited and others v Ainsworth and another, the court held that the helmets were not entitled to copyright protection under English law because they were utilitarian and were not sculptures that could qualify for protection as artistic works.
Continue Reading

Written by Simon Harms

On 14 December 2010, the European Commission(the “Commission“) adopted a new suite of rules governing co-operation between actual or potential competitors, consisting of (i) guidelines on the applicability of EU competition law to horizontal co-operation agreements (the “Guidelines”) and (ii) two new block exemption regulations covering: (1) specialisation and joint production agreements; and (2) research and development agreements (the “R&D BER”).

The Guidelines and block exemption regulations replace existing rules which had been in place for a decade and cover a large number of different types of horizontal co-operation agreements. In an effort to break down the myriad new rules to manageable proportions and in a user-friendly style, GTM has prepared a series of alerts which have examined the rules by types of agreement. This, the final alert in the series, focuses on research and development agreements.1  
Continue Reading